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Josh Holt returns home to Utah

James Wooldridge, Deseret News

Josh and Thamy Holt are now with his family here in Utah, a day earlier than expected, yet also a day years in the making.

The Holts were greeted first by a cheering crowd at Salt Lake City International Airport Sunday night, then later in Riverton after their limo ride.

Josh spoke publicly at both locations.

“We’re grateful to be here, we’re grateful to finally be around for our families and once again we thank you all. We love you all. And may god bless all of you,” he said.

“It’s been a very very very long three or four years. I don’t even know how long. We’ve gotten maybe three or four hours of sleep in four days. But I just wanted to publicly say thank you.”

Josh’s grandma wrapped him in an American Flag when he came down the airport escalator. It belonged to his grandpa. She says she thought it was a great way to celebrate Memorial Day and Josh’s long-awaited return.

Green balloons, green ribbons and American flags lined the street in Riverton, and Josh and his mother spoke to the crowd gathered at Riverton City ParkĀ .

“We have to make ourselves happy in whatever situation we’re going through,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in prison, held hostage for however long, you can make yourself happy.”

Josh Holt was released from jail in Venezuela on Saturday morning. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker flew there and met with Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro to arrange the release.

President Donald Trump welcomed Holt at the White House Saturday night.