I would like to take a moment to introduce myself, Shannon Parson, and my wife Andrea. We live in McDonough Georgia, which is about 30 miles south of Atlanta. We share our home to our dogs, cat, chickens, our four almost grown children, and last, but certainly not least, the LEO Horses.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love for woodwork and creating things. If I had to guess, I would say building bird houses in 4-H was the beginning of this passion. In 2001, as I was driving by a local horse owner’s farm, I caught sight of a headless rocking horse sitting out to the side of the barn. With curiosity, I stopped to ask what his plans were for the poor thing. His response was “trash pile”. He kindly indulged my interest and after a few minutes of digging around, the horse now had a head...and a new home. Once I got home with it, I pulled out a drill and saw to take it apart, created my patterns, and made a material list. By that very weekend, I had made my 1st horse as a gift for a friend’s son that was turning a year old that next week. Andrea and I have continued to make them from there on. Many have gone to family and friends, with a few sold from personal orders. To be honest, I get so much more out of them being a gift from our family- something beyond the reach of money. I often wonder how many kids will climb in the saddle and take rides over the generations.
Our first LEO Horse was made for the child of fallen Henry County Georgia Officer, James “Jimmy” Gilbert in 2004. From that time period until this year, we did not make another LEO Horse. That was until Officer Chase Maddox of the Locust Grove Georgia Police Department was killed in the line of duty while assisting two local Sheriff Deputies Feb 9th, 2018. The following morning, as Andrea and I sat on our front porch drinking coffee and talking about the prior day’s incident, she looked at me and said “You’re planning on building Chase Maddox’s babies a horse aren’t you?”. I guess it proves how well she knows me and how intimately our hearts think alike. After a few weeks past, we started working on the horse. It came together so seamlessly, as if we had been planning it for months. Our local trophy shop (Victory Trophies) jumped on board from day one and has continued to be a huge blessing in making the LEO Horses as personal as possible for each child.
Andrea and I both have such enormous love and respect for our nation’s law enforcement officers. Our LEO Horses are our way of giving back for them sacrificing everything. Beginning with 2018, we began building a horse for each child 3 years or younger of any fallen officer in the Southeast. We built and delivered 12 horses that year. In 2019 we obtained our 501C3 Status as a non profit. That year we expanded
to include all 50 states and any LODD in which that officer has a child 3Yrs or younger.
Our hope is that each horse gets to hear a lifetime of laughter and help take the family away on adventures in the midst of such tragedy, even if for only a few minutes at a time. May God bless these families and fill their hearts with memories of their loved one.
With Much Affection,
Shannon and Andrea Parson