Tennessee elementary school raises thousands for custodian to buy vehicle

Around the South

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (WREG) — An elementary school janitor was filled with love after staff and parents at a Germantown school showed him how thankful they are for the work he does.

Robert Lee Reed had no idea he was about to get the surprise of a lifetime Wednesday.

The 60-year-old Farmington Elementary School janitor was brought to his knees in tears as he got the news his coworkers raised thousands of dollars for him.

“No job is too big or too small,” Reed said. “I wanna make a safe, clean, sanitized environment for the students, the guests.”

First grade teacher Elizabeth Malone, who organized the GoFundMe fundraiser that raised $10,000 for Reed, said his hard work and dedication set an example for students.

“We just want to model to our kids that when you see a need, you should reach out and help them,” Malone said.

Reed goes by the age-old saying of taking pride in your work.

“This building was built in 1975, so it takes a lot of work, but it’s a blessing to do the job,” Reed said.

The saying couldn’t ring truer for Reed.

Only on the job for a few months, he’s quickly become a beloved, crucial member of the staff.

Faculty recently realized the lengths Reed takes to get to work. Without a vehicle, he took multiple buses, a trip which took several hours.

Less than 48 hours ago, the GoFundMe page was made. The goal was to raise $10,000 to help Reed to buy the truck he’s been saving up for.

In a matter of hours, parents, alumni and staff at the school raised more than $10,000.

A vehicle of his own will make a big difference for Reed.

“Let’s say I get off at 3:00, I would get home about 7 because I stay in Millbranch and Winchester,” Reed said. “I have to catch three buses and walk about two miles.”

But he’s never thought of trying to find a job closer to where he lives. He called the people of Farmington family.

“I love these people up here,” Reed said. “I love them. I couldn’t have made it without them. Yes, it’s a joy to work here. Joy. Pure joy.”

Reed also hopes a truck can help him in the side business he plans to start working on yards.

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