Surrounded by friends and family, Bill and Carol Meehleis lifted the cover off a new plaque acknowledging the many contributions they have made to Lodi High School over the years.
The school’s gym, which was built in September 2008, will now be known as the Bill and Carol Meehleis Gymnasium. Principal Bob Lofsted led a ceremony, where teachers from different subject areas discussed how they have depended on the Meehleis family over the years.
Many of them said they call the couple first when they need help with anything.
“They are not selective. They are just generous in all areas of the high school,” Athletic Director Erin Aitken said.
Bill and Carol Meehleis came to Lodi 25 years ago to grow Meehleis Modular, and said they were greeted with kindness and support.
“We have been trying for the last couple of years to pay it forward,” Bill Meehleis said.
Before the dedication, Lofsted said the school has referred to it as the new gym or the Inferno during sporting events.
“It really has become the centerpiece of the school,” Lofsted said.
Lofsted first met the Meehleises when they found an old, rusting bell that used to be used at Lodi High football games. The couple refurbished it, so the school could use it again.
“Now, it’s going to be part of our football tradition because of the Meehleises interest in history and tradition,” Lofsted said.
Paul Guthrie, the industrial arts and technology teacher, thanked the couple for their creation and support of a scholarship for post-secondary education for his students.
Aitken thanked them for their support of new football and baseball scoreboards. Former P.E. teacher Bob Whittaker said the new weight room was one of the couple’s biggest gifts to the school.
“Not only did they find a modular that could be used for a weight room, but they had cranes out here on the campus to set them up, and now it’s one of the nicest buildings on campus,” Whittaker said.
Aside from supporting community groups, Judge David Warner said the Meehleis family is also continuously doing small acts of kindness. They send handwritten notes, help families with Thanksgiving dinner and then stock their fridges, and help people in financial crises.
“Those are the things that impress me more than the buildings that you see,” Warner said.
The couple thanked the support of their friends and family, and Carol Meehleis challenged everyone to find a way to give back.
On August 1, the family celebrated their 25th anniversary in Lodi.
“We are finally Lodians now,” Bill Meehleis joked.