MEEKER I Stan Hilkey, a Meeker native and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, i.e. Colorado’s “top cop,” welcomed the new Meeker High School National Honor Society inductees and recognized current members with his presentation Monday entitled “Living with Honor.” Hilkey said that he returns to Meeker frequently to visit his father, Ron, ride horseback, fish and hunt, but Monday was the first time he’d been back in the high school building since he graduated in 1983. It was also the first time he’d been asked to speak formally in his hometown, for which he thanked the students.
Hilkey said living with honor was not limited to any specific career, birthright or plan—that it’s not predestined, not reserved for just a few, but achievable by anyone and that there are many paths to both gain and show respect. He shared that his success was attributable to fierce allegiance to the power of relationships, adherence to character and the value of education.
Hilkey urged students not to miss any opportunity to admit mistakes, apologize for them and commit to fixing what went wrong. He also stated that today’s divisiveness in public life is alarming, fueled by unfiltered, unbalanced and untrue rhetoric. Tomorrow, he said, will be about “being the kind of person who dismisses fake news, filters out rotten social media posts and profit-driven media spin.”
In closing, Hilkey also emphasized the importance of humility. He said Meeker was very much a source of pride for him, that he has used what he learned here throughout his career, and that he is very grateful to be from Meeker.
Following Hilkey’s talk, the honor society students gave out three “Living with Honor” awards. One went to their Meeker business of the year, White River Electric Association. The award was accepted by none other than Stan Hilkey’s father, former county sheriff Ron Hilkey, who is a member director of WREA. Accepting the award gave the senior Hilkey a chance to talk a bit about the WREA and to say how very proud he is of “his little boy.” Ron also said that all the finesse the audience witnessed in his son came not from him, but from Stan’s mother, Sally Jenkins Weller who, herself, went to school and lived in Meeker for some time, and now lives in California.
The NHS award for school district employee of the year went to custodian Brent Rowles for all he does, his “can do” attitude and for laughing at all their student jokes. Their award for community person of the year went to school board president Bud Ridings, also a district bus driver, for all he gives back to the community and the school system.