Happy Valentine’s Day at First Lady

Published 9:34 pm Monday, February 17, 2020

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Valentine’s Day is an extra-special occasion for Robbin and Michael Shelton, one of the happy couples who attended the Nansemond River Pilot Club’s first Valentine’s Sweetheart Ball on Friday evening.

The Sheltons celebrated 45 years of marriage on Saturday, the day after Valentine’s Day. In fact, these childhood sweethearts dated for five years before they got married, Robbin Shelton said, so they’ve been together for 50 years.

That’s why they chose to have their wedding on Feb. 15, and why the holiday is so special for them.

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“She’s my sweetheart, and she’s my only sweetheart. That’s why we chose (Feb. 15),” Michael Shelton said. “It was so close to Valentine’s Day. I mean, she’s the heart and love of my life.”

The Nansemond River Pilot Club held its inaugural Valentine’s Sweetheart Ball at the First Lady of Suffolk. Tickets were sold for a Valentine’s evening filled with heavy hors d’oeuvres, a live DJ, a cash bar, dancing and fun in the lavish event venue.

“We have about 27 (attendees), which is not bad for our first time,” said Nansemond River Pilot Club President Becky Adams. “Great food, great fun, great DJ — it’s just an all-around fun time.”

Friends and family enjoyed delicious food that varied from barbecue to seafood, plus cupcakes and other favorite Valentine’s desserts. The well-dressed attendees laughed and danced for hours into the night, and the whole scene was brilliantly decorated for the festivities.

“It’s wonderful,” Michael Shelton said about the event. “Family, friends. It’s nice. Real nice.”

“Plus the building is awesome,” Robbin Shelton added. “We always attend events here, and it’s always proven to be really nice.”

The First Lady of Suffolk is now in its 12th year of operation, according to owner Jennifer Seebo. The event venue is a Queen Anne Victorian mansion that was first built in 1907 and was restored by Heirloom Homes, according to thefirstladyofsuffolk.com.

Seebo said that the First Lady has been a venue for Nansemond River Pilot Club events for about a decade. The two have a “wonderful” relationship, she said, so when the Club holds its events at the First Lady, everyone feels like a beloved guest — even Seebo and her staff.

“We feel like we know most people here, so we kind of feel like we’re guests too,” Seebo said. “That makes it kind of special. We get to have a good time with them, because we know them. They’re kind of special to us.”

The Valentine’s Sweetheart Ball on Friday was a fundraiser for the club’s community service projects. The club has a focus on awareness and prevention for brain-related injuries and disorders, and also raises money for other causes, such as the American Cancer Society, Adams said.

Adams thanked all of Friday’s attendees who supported the new fundraiser, which she expects to become an annual Valentine’s Day tradition.

“It’s been a blast. We hope to continue this in the years to come, and we hope that we gain more people as they see how much fun we’re having tonight,” Adams said.