It was a night filled with surprises, as Evansville native and Paralympic Gold Medalist, Mikaela Jenkins was given a warm welcome Tuesday night by friends, family and city leaders, with an official tour of the new Deaconess Aquatic Center.
The tour was only the beginning.
"I knew that Mayor Winnecke was taking me on a tour of the pool, but I did not expect this at all," said Jenkins.
Jenkins was suprised with her very own mural just outside of the main pool area. The mural showcases pictures when she was just a little girl and her journey to become who she is today, not allowing her disability to stop her.
"After Mikaela won in Tokyo, after Lily won in Tokyo, we knew we had to find out a way to offer an appropriate tribute to her," said Mayor Winnecke. "so it's been in the planning since her performance in Tokyo."
After seeing her mural, Jenkins was then taken inside where she received a warm applause and shown a presentation of video messages from loved ones, friends and teammates.
To top it off Mayor Winnecke had one more surprise up his sleeve, the key to the city.
"We reserve a key to the city for people that make special contributions to the city and those contributions can run the gammet of all kinds of things," said Mayor Winnecke. "but helping spotlight Evansville on a world stage certainly qualifies, I think, to be given a key to the city."
An honor Mikaela says she will deeply cherish.
"To receive the key to the city, and have all my friends and family here and just to have this honor of like, the presentation and seeing all my friends tell me how proud they were, it's something that I will remember for the rest of my life." said Jenkins.
A room filled with happy faces, and congratulations, for someone many feel is well deserving.