HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- A Hanover County elementary school celebrated the return of a beloved custodian, five months after undergoing a heart and kidney transplant.
Tyrees Dandridge, also known as Mr. D., returned to Pole Green Elementary School to a standing ovation from the entire school Monday morning.
Mr. D has been a custodian at Pole Green since the school opened in 2000 and a Hanover County Public Schools employee for more than 25 years.
After waiting three years for organ donations to replace his failing heart and kidney, Mr. D. received a dual transplant last year. After five months of recovery, he returned to a celebration from his school family.
Mr. D walked through the hallways to high fives, hugs, cheers, and tears from students, teachers, and staff.
"That's family,” said Mr. D. “We is a big family. We've been a family for years and I just love them. I love them for loving me and I love them.”
Mr. D’s wife Carolyn and other family members were at the celebration too.
The school custodian said he was particularly looking forward to seeing the kids.
“I couldn’t wait,” Mr. D. said. “I love the kids and I just missed them.”
Now, Mr. D is looking forward to continuing doing what he loves and thanking God every day for his second chance at life.
“I just thank God gave me another chance to live again and tell everybody about what he did for me,” said Mr. D. “I just give God all the glory.”
VCU Health is documenting the custodian’s incredible health journey. Rob Cardwell will have more on Mr. D in an upcoming Building Better Minds report.