HATTIESBURG, Miss. — After a rough year, things are getting back on track for Audrae Barnes, the director of transportation for Hattiesburg Public School District.

The Hattiesburg American reports that he spent three and a half months in the hospital in late 2012 and early 2013 following complications from surgery for a benign brain tumor.

Then, when he returned home in February, a tornado struck the area, greatly impacting Hattiesburg Public School District’s yellow bus service. As previously reported, the tornado damaged most of the district’s 27 school buses, and the district’s bus garage, transportation center and transportation office also sustained damage.

Although Barnes was on medical leave at the time and in a wheelchair, he made calls to other districts to borrow buses so that his operation could continue to provide service to students.

Now, The Hattiesburg American reports that Barnes is on his way to making a full recovery, and the transportation facility is as well. Barnes’ stamina has improved, and he has moved from using a walker to a cane.

He’s also working to improve his short-term memory and focus on hiring more people in the transportation department.

“I’m down four people,” he told the news outlet. “I look forward to having a complete staff.”

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