Belinda Lewis presented with “Key to the Fort” from Mayor Tom Henry

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Mayor Tom Henry and other city officials gathered at Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control on Wednesday to celebrate Belinda Lewis’ retirement. Or, that is what she thought.

In addition to the celebration, Mayor Henry presented Lewis a “Key to the Fort.”

Lewis, who is retiring at the end of the month, didn’t know about the award beforehand.

She has been the director of Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control for 28 years, and is a nationally recognized leader in the animal care profession.

The Key to the Fort is a hand replica of the iron key used at the Fort in the days of Anthony Wayne, in about 1790.

“Belinda is very deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Mayor Henry. “She’s a true professional and we wish her a great retirement.”

Lewis said it was an honor to receive the key, and she thanked the entire community.

“I accept this for all of you, because without you I couldn’t have done any of it,” she said.

Lewis is the fourth Fort Wayne resident to receive a key from Mayor Henry.

Other recipients include the late Charles Redd, the late Jane Avery and Bob Chase.

RELATED: Amy-Jo Sites is Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control’s new director

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