The bridge is located at the association’s river lodge on the banks of the Nantahala River and now carries a plaque that says “Rob Kelly Bridge” with the word “Courage” underneath in honor of the rescue. The ceremony was held June 30 in a surprise bridge dedication ceremony for Kelly. Sue Martin, a mother of two and the woman Kelly helped save, also attended the event.
“In acts of heroism we exceed our normal or habitual capacity,” said Ami Shinitzky the developer of Mystic Lands, in his dedication statement. “When we cheer for heroes, we also cheer for ourselves, for heroes remind us of the greatness hidden within us all.”
Martin was kayaking the Nantahala during a whitewater release when she became trapped underwater in her kayak. Kelly, an employee of the Nantahala Outdoor Center, was passing by while driving another group of kayakers to the put-in site when he saw Martin in trouble and stopped to free her.