(CBS) — It was a joyous homecoming Monday afternoon when a 23-year-old Chicagoan arrived at O’Hare Airport after the Peace Corps ordered its volunteers to evacuate three nations in Africa because of Ebola virus fears.
But as CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports, the young man did not want to leave the children he was teaching math and English.
Like any parents who hadn’t seen their child in a year, Beth and Fred Seaton could not contain their excitement.
“I’m glad to have him home. I’m glad he’s safe,” Beth Seaton said.
He’s safe, and not exposed to the Ebola virus that is ravaging west Africa, where their son, Cullen, has been serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea.
Cullen explained he was in no danger. Still, when he arrived at O’Hare, the Seatons, including his brother, were overjoyed.
He’d had a whirlwind departure from Africa.
“I had about 18 hours in my village to get all my bags packed, say goodbye to everybody I knew and explain what was happening,” he says.
Cullen said he was never worried about his safety.
“No one in my village had ever been exposed to Ebola, so really life had continued all the way up until the evacuation,” he says.
Cullen Seaton insists he wanted to stay. He’s attached to the young children to whom he teaches math and English in a remote village, where he’s the only American.
“It’s really tough for me to think I might not be back in time to start classes again with the students,” he says.
For his family, though, this is a happy time.
His mother planned to do lots of cooking.
Cullen says he’ll probably be home for at least a month.