Welcome signs for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are now hanging all over the tight-knit town of Hailey, Idaho, but it is still unclear when Bergdahl will return home.
For Jani and Bob Bergdahl, the five-year wait for their son is almost over, but the former prisoner of war will likely face a new battle at home, reports CBS News' Bigad Shaban.
"Bowe has been gone so long, that it's going to be very difficult to come back. It's like a diver going deep on a dive and has to stage back up through recompression," his father, Bob, said.
When Bergdahl is finally ready to re-surface in the U.S., the 8,000 residents of his hometown of Hailey, Idaho will be there to welcome him home. Bergdahl's friends and neighbors say their prayers have been answered.
"You just hoped," Hailey resident Judy Fox said. "All you could do was hope. Hope that he would come home. Now he's coming home."
Sue Martin runs Zaney's, a café in Hailey where Bergdahl worked before his deployment.
"He's a strong resilient young man," Martin said. "He's going to have his share of long, enduring hugs, and I'll be one of them."
For the past five years the people of Hailey kept Bergdahl's memory alive with signs saying "Bring Bowe Home." Those signs are now coming down to be replaced by a new message: "Bowe is free."
Army veteran Dave Challe advocated for Bowe's release.
"If you don't keep that kind of hope, you're lost anyway, and we needed to stand by that. And it proved itself out," he said.
Questions remain about how Bergdahl wound up in the hands of the Taliban. Over the years, reports have said he walked off base, unarmed. However, his parents said whatever happened, the Bowe they know is a man of integrity.
"I'm proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people, and what you were willing to do to go to that length," Bob said, crying.
"You have your life ahead of you. We continue in our minute by minute prayers for you as you go through this healing process, and we praise God for your freedom," mother Jani said.
Since Bergdahl's release, his parents have not even spoken to him over the phone. They said they are waiting until he's emotionally ready. He is still receiving medical care at a hospital in Germany.