HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some across our area are celebrating beating the virus.
"My heart," said 83-year-old Gilbert Falcon, while flashing a thumbs up to our camera.
Falcon returned to his southeast Houston home after spending 150 days in the hospital.
SEE ALSO: Texas to prioritize 65 and older for next round of vaccines
Doctors gave him a slim chance of survival. The Air Force veteran and great-grandfather of 10, spent months on a ventilator.
"I just couldn't do it because I knew my grandfather would survive," said his granddaughter, Chloe Morrissey. "He's a fighter. He's always been a fighter. He's the strongest man I know."
"You just keep fighting for your loved one," said Falcon's oldest daughter, Annette DeCuba. "You have to, especially at this age."
More than 300,000 people in the country have already died from the virus, and that number is going up every day. But, in a year with so much pain, celebrations are important.
League City Mayor Pat Hallisey came home last week after fighting COVID19 in the hospital for six weeks.
"I was scared to death, to tell you the truth. I turn on your station and I watch the news," Hallisey said. "I see the number of people who are dying from this."
Mayor Hallisey made it home just in time for his 71st birthday and knows he has a lot to be grateful for this season.
SEE ALSO: League City mayor out of ICU in COVID-19 recovery
"I'm feeling very good. I just don't have a lot of energy," he said. "I think it's a great day. I'm happy to be alive. I lost some good friends and I'm distressed over it. I'm glad that we made it."
"You just have to keep believing. Have faith and belief and hope. Choose hope, you know?" DeCuba said.
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83-year-old veteran beats COVID-19 after spending 150 days in hospital