Jimmy Love (right) looks on as former North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dennis Wicker speaks at a reception for Love.

The Lee County Board of Education recognized longtime board Attorney Jimmy Love Sr. by naming the meeting room at Lee County High School in his honor.

The move was announced Wednesday at a reception for Love on his final day advising the district in legal matters. Love had been the schools’ attorney for 45 years.

At the ceremony, Love said he’s always been proud to be involved with public schools, something he said had a great impact on his own life, as well as on North Carolina as a whole.

“We are what we are now because of public schools,” he said. “When (North Carolina) started emphasizing and supporting public schools, the state took off. The only challenge I have to you as members of the community and people who are on the school board is not forget, because you can go backwards sometimes easier than you can go forward.”

Scheduled speakers included former North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dennis Wicker and Lee County Board of Education Chair Sandra Bowen.

“Throughout the political career that I’ve had, I’ve met two United States presidents. I’ve met General Colin Powell. I’ve met many legendary folks,” Wicker said. “When I think about him, and his lovely bride can agree with what I’m going to say next, and that is that I have never met anybody like Jimmy Love.”

Wicker practiced law with Love early in his career, and said his dedication to helping people – even when they couldn’t afford an attorney – set him apart.

“I would watch people coming in the office, needing his help, his legal services. And he knew, that they knew, that he knew that they could not afford to pay,” Wicker said. “And he would do it anyway.”

Bowen said Love “symbolizes a servant leader.”

“Many people will walk under those doors and forever know the impact that Jimmy Love has had here,” she said.