Henry County School Board Chairman Francis Zehr

Henry County School Board member Terri Flanagan (left) speaks with board Chair Francis Zehr at Thursday's meeting. Ben Boone, director of finance for Henry County Public Schools, is in the background.

“It’s hard to keep a good man down,” Henry County Public Schools Superintendent Sandy Strayer said as School Board Chair Francis Zehr arrived at Chatmoss Country Club Thursday morning for the board’s planning meeting.

But he did so with the help of a walker.

Earlier this month, Zehr was hospitalized five days at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, N.C., where he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, which the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says is “a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.”

Zehr subsequently was transferred to the rehabilitation unit there. He was released from that unit on Tuesday morning. He had missed the board' most recent meeting, the first time in years.

“The doctor said I had a mild case, and I should make a full recovery,” Zehr said Thursday. “I’m walking with a walker. How long it’s going to be before I walk on my own ... it could be two weeks, it could be four weeks. It’s just hard to say. But I’m feeling well, and I’m very thankful that I caught it in plenty of time before it got to my respiratory system. I’m a lucky man.

“I got out of rehabilitation two days ago. …. I need to do a little outpatient rehab the next two or three weeks. I’ll be doing that in Reidsville [Annie Penn Outpatient Rehabilitation]. I’m up an’ at ’em today,” Zehr said.

Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.

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