Students throw beloved custodian surprise party after his return to school from a heart, kidney transplant

PHOTO: Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., returned to Pole Green Elementary School in Virginia to a screaming crowd as he returned to his duties as custodian on Feb. 25, after a heart and kidney transplant. PlayHanover County Public Schools
WATCH Custodian gets surprise celebration after receiving heart and kidney transplant

A beloved custodian returning from medical leave was surprised by a roaring crowd of 600 students during a sweet welcome back party.

Tyrees Dandridge, also known as Mr. D., arrived to Pole Green Elementary School in Virginia on Feb. 25, after undergoing a heart and kidney transplant.

The kids had made "welcome back" signs and decorated the halls in artwork in celebration of his good health and return to school.

PHOTO: Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., high fives students at Pole Green Elementary School in Virginia, on Feb. 25, after he received a heart and kidney transplant. Hanover County Public Schools
Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., high fives students at Pole Green Elementary School in Virginia, on Feb. 25, after he received a heart and kidney transplant.

"They were hugging me, telling me they love me," Mr. D., 59, told “GMA.” "I love them too. It was just wonderful."

Pole Green principal Rhonda Voorhees said students and staff had been planning the party for months.

PHOTO: Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., poses with Pole Green Elementary School Rhonda Vorhees. Hanover County Public Schools
Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., poses with Pole Green Elementary School Rhonda Vorhees.

"Mr. D is an icon," Vorhees told "GMA." "He is serving his 19th year at our school and he is well-known and loved by our staff, students and community. He is a model of perseverance, which is a powerful lesson for all of us."

PHOTO: Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., received a surprise party at Pole Green Elementary School in Virginia, after receiving a heart and kidney transplant. Hanover County Public Schools
Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., received a surprise party at Pole Green Elementary School in Virginia, after receiving a heart and kidney transplant.

"Our school is thankful for his health, and that he is back with his school family," she added.

Mr. D., a father of five and a granddad to four, said he is grateful for his health and all the love that surrounds him.

PHOTO: Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., returned to Pole Green Elementary School in Virginia to a screaming crowd as he returned to his duties as custodian on Feb. 25, after a heart and kidney transplant. Hanover County Public Schools
Tyrees Dandridge, known to students as Mr. D., returned to Pole Green Elementary School in Virginia to a screaming crowd as he returned to his duties as custodian on Feb. 25, after a heart and kidney transplant.

Mr. D. hopes to raise awareness of the need for organ donations.

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