As the covering was removed for what will be a sign placed above the Highland Park Elementary School library/media center entrance, David Meers’ goal was further realized.

The longtime HPES principal and current Loudon County commissioner stood in awe as loved ones surrounded him and welcomed the new addition to a school Meers served for 27 years.

Meers worked 42 years for Loudon County Schools before retiring in 2009.

“Just words cannot express my sincere appreciation to this community and the county for the support that they’ve given us over the years,” Meers said. “... It means so much I can’t say. Words can’t explain my appreciation. It’s just an honor.”

Meers recalled iconic professional baseball player Lou Gehrig’s speech, considering himself the “luckiest man” to be surrounded by loved ones and serving the county school district for so long. To have his name on the HPES library and media center was an “honor,” he said.

His hopes while principal were to have an after-school program and a “rooted” library for children. He recalls the school having to move the library around four times due to a growing student population.

Kathy Winsor, HPES principal, believes Meers “started the fire” to get the efforts in motion.

“I think we just wanted to be sure and honor Mr. Meers for his years of service,” Winsor said. “He’s been a member of the Loudon County Schools since 1977. He’s been with the system a long time, and even after he’s left the school system he’s still been with county commission and he’s been involved in making decisions for the schools. We just wanted to make sure that he felt appreciated for the job that he’s done.”

Loudon County Director of Schools Michael Garren months ago asked what Winsor thought about a dedication in Meers’ honor.

“He’s always been a big proponent of reading and reading instruction and making sure kids have what they need,” Winsor said.

Garren thanked Meers for his service to county schools.

“I’ve been over at Greenback and over here at Highland Park, I hear one thing from teachers when I told them about what we’re doing today, the words ‘long overdue.’ I can’t disagree with that,” Garren said. “I think this is a remarkable thing. When I look back over the last nine years that I’ve been in the district, we don’t have one principal or one assistant principal who’s had the same position after nine years ago and he managed to do that for over 20 years.”

“That speaks volumes for when you can hold that position for over 20 years and make achievements like you did here at Highland Park,” he added.

State Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, was present to give a proclamation to the school.

“Just a very driven person, goal-oriented, good public servant and just a very good community man with a deep heart,” David Clinton, former HPES principal, said about Meers.