TOP PHOTO: Conner’s sign was unveiled on Saturday morning.
Katy Carmany, Kelly Potter and Tate McGhee designed Conner’s sign.
JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – If you drive out Mt. Paran Road and don’t smile when you see Conner Lane’s picture on the sign dedicating that stretch of road in his memory, you must be looking the other way. The sign stands beside the road at the Campbell County Highway Department on the way to Conner’s home.
Thirteen year old Conner passed away a little more than a year ago after battling cancer.
L-R Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton, Sheriff Robbie Goins, Commissioner Rusty Orick, Road Super Ron Dilbeck, Director of Schools Jennifer Fields and La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield look on as Dilbeck opens the dedication ceremony.
Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton opened the dedication with prayer saying, “This is a blessed gathering. He’s (Conner) with us today. The Lord’s light shined through Conner.”
Conner’s section of Mt. Paran Road was closed off for Saturday’s ceremony.
Dilbeck told the warmly dressed crowd that words are easy to find but not today. “Conner was my buddy,” said Dilbeck. He told the story of driving Conner through a Veterans Day Parade. Conner told him having two blondes in the truck is the only thing that could make the ride any better.
The sun shined brightly as Campbell County Director of Schools Jennifer Fields shared her memories of Conner. Fields was Conner’s principal at Jacksboro Middle School. She said, “Everyday Conner was full of energy and love. There was never a day when students were not protective of Conner. He brightened their lives.”
It was a day of hugs and heavy hearts as Ron Dilbeck is hugged by Conner’s father, Curtis Lane.
The sign and the dedication was Road Superintendent Ron Dilbeck’s idea. He took it to Campbell County Commissioner Rusty Orick and then on before the county commission. Orick made the motion and the second was unanimous. He said, “No research and no thought went into the decision. The commission just went right to it.”
La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield, a cancer survivor, shared his story of initially having 27 prayer cloths as he battled the disease. Over the past couple of decades, Stanfield had given all those prayer cloths to others fighting cancer. His last one went to Conner. He closed by saying, “As long as there is life in our bodies, we’ll remember Conner.”
Curtis and Wendy Lane in blue shirts, Conner’s color, and sunglasses are Conner’s parents. Curtis addressed the crowd.
Conner’s father, Curtis, said, “Conner was our only child, and this is very humbling for this is uncharted territory.” He thanked the community and added that Conner accepted Christ a year before he died.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Stacey Heatherly, who lives not far from Conner’ sign, emotionally spoke from the audience. She said, “This community is so amazing. It’s an amazing day to honor Conner.”
The sign stands about midway between where Conner lived and where he was laid to rest at Jacksboro Cemetery.
And, Conner Clay Lane, I will do my best to be the reason someone smiles from this day forward. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 11/13/2019-6AM)