Officer Shelton's widow reflects on her husband's legacy

Jennifer Shelton was beaming the day she and Officer Jeff Shelton got married. For 12 years, they lived and loved.

"You never think it's going to be you. You never think you're going to be there," Jennifer told WBTV's Sharon Smith when they spoke last year.

She says part of her died when Jeff's life was taken.

Shelton was shot and killed in the line of duty with his partner on April 1, 2007. Officers Shelton and Sean Clark had just responded to an unrelated domestic disturbance call at the Timber Ridge Apartments off Barrington Drive when they were ambushed. The killer is serving two life sentences in prison.

Jennifer remembers the ride to the hospital and the shock of it all. She says her world came to a grinding halt.

Friends, family, CMPD and Charlotte propped her up and held her tight.

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"The overwhelming support I felt from the community, you can't imagine. I can still picture what it looked like on the way to the cemetery with the road lined with people," she said.

Jennifer has held on to Jeff's memory by leading a foundation in his name. The Officer Jeff Shelton Foundation provides a criminal justice scholarship at Stanly Community College. Jeff was continuing his studies at the College when he was killed.

The foundation also recognizes local officers who do good work. It's the kind of work her husband believed was the calling of a police officer.

"This is their job, their calling. And they love what they do, but behind the badge and the uniform is another human being," said Jennifer.

She still very much grieves the man she lost ten years ago. She's not over it, but she fights through it.

Jennifer has also built a life and found love again with someone who believes in keeping Jeff's memory alive. Her husband, Mike, helps lead the foundation and supports her in attending the events and ceremonies that take place throughout the years.

Mike says Jennifer has the strongest heart. It's where one of Charlotte's finest will always rest.

Jennifer supports several memorial events and scholarships that honor the memory of Jeff Shelton and Sean Clark. She was also previously involved in the establishment of a park in Locust, where Jeff had lived.

It's her work with the Officer Jeff Shelton Foundation that she's most focused on now.

In May, during National Police Week, the foundation will hold the 2017 Thin Blue Line Silent Auction and Awards Dinner for officers in Stanly County.

To read more about the Officer Jeff Shelton Foundation, click here.

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