‘It’s good to be home’ Hamilton men back after ordeal in DR
More than two dozen family and friends were on hand to greet Nick Miele, 34, of Stoney Creek and his 18-year-old cousin Ben Costantini when they arrived home at Pearson Airport Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m.
There was weeping, kisses, hugs and cheers for the pair as they emerged into the arrival lounge from the 4½-hour flight from Punta Cana with eight other family members and friends who stayed, or went down, to support them through their ordeal.
Some family and friends wore homemade blue T-shirts that said Free Ben and Nick and one relative, Sue Raynor, waved a homemade sign proclaiming Welcome Home Nick and Ben and families.
“I feel great,” said Costantini as he made the rounds greeting his welcoming party, which included his sister Lisa and uncle and aunt, Mike and Josie De Paola. “That’s it.”
An emotional Maria Costantini, Ben’s mother, looked skyward and hollered “We won”, and then a few seconds later yelled, “Oh my God, I feel so safe here.” She and her husband, Ben Costantini Sr., stayed in Dominican Republic after their son was arrested May 28 in connection with an early-morning fight at a resort that injured a Montreal man.
“It’s good to be home,” said Miele as he walked with his wife Stacey towards the airport exit and a surprise home-cooked meal made by his aunt Josie.
“It feels wonderful.”
The construction worker was looking forward to seeing his dog again and, along with Costantini, going to a McDonald’s. Ben Costantini works at an uncle’s stall at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market and was attending an adult learning centre on the west Mountain to complete his Grade 12.
Josie De Paola, who said she was happy and relieved the men were back in Canada, had a big spread waiting for them at her home, including lots of pasta.
“They haven’t had any in three weeks,” she said after she had got in her hugs and kisses.
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