Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt teared up after presenting Joey and Freddie Shelton with keys to Chapel Hill Monday night.
“What a special evening,” said Kleinschmidt, elected last fall and handing over his first set of golden keys on the council’s last night meeting before summer break. “I haven’t had an opportunity before to meet such amazing people. I’m actually excited about all this.”
The Shelton brothers rescued a young woman from abduction as she jogged through downtown Chapel Hill last month.
“This community in recent years has been scarred by acts of violence,” Kleinschmidt told the brothers. “You’ve helped us heal in ways that we didn’t know we needed to.”
Joey Shelton said he and his brother had met with the young woman and her mother just prior to Monday’s council meeting.
“I first and foremost want to thank God that the young lady is fine,” said Shelton, who suffered a back injury when alleged kidnapper Theodore Walker hit him with his car, according to police. “This is part of my heritage in life. Meeting all of you beautiful people – it’s just been overwhelming.”
Shelton saved his highest praise for Melissa Williams, the woman who wrote down Walker’s license plate number so police could track him down after he allegedly fled.
“Without you, we felt …” Shelton faltered. “I can’t put into words.”
Kleinschmidt handed Williams a framed certificate and a bouquet of lilies for her service.
“You will always have a special place here in Chapel Hill,” he said.