Published: Mar 02, 2011 4:45 AM EST
Updated: Mar 02, 2011 1:45 AM EST

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. - A happy homecoming finally came Tuesday for the man critically injured in a November gas line explosion in Lee County.

Mario Santos suffered severe burns when the construction vehicle he was operating struck a gas line at Colonial Boulevard and State Road 82.

Santos says he's happy to be home with his family after what happened, his body showing the scars of the burns he suffered in the November blast.

"I don't really remember much, except getting to the hospital, and I don't remember much after that," Santos said through a translator.

"We're very happy to have him back, blessed to have him back," said sister-in-law Dolly Rua.

Family members say they're pleased and amazed by the progress Santos has made in just four months.

"Every day has been an improvement.  It's been a lot of work for him," Rua said.

Santos, an avid soccer player, hopes to one day return to the field to play the game he loves,

"Little by little, I hope to return to the way I once was," Santos said.

Santos was showered with presents in a heart-felt welcome home.  but he's thinking of his family, saying it was difficult on them.  He's also expressing thanks to those whose generous donations made it possible for family to stay by his side.

"I want to thank them from the heart.  And i just want them to know I'm grateful and hope to one day help someone like they helped me," Santos said.