(Courtesy: Covington Police Department)
COVINGTON, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - It has been more than a year since Locust Grove Police Officer Chase Maddox was senselessly gunned down while helping deputies serve a warrant. Since his death on Feb. 9, 2018, more than a dozen Georgia officers have been shot, of which three were killed. A McDonough resident and friend of Officer Maddox is trying to help the family of those officers in one of the only ways he knows how.
Shannon Parson started a project in 2018 called “Remembering Officer’s Children” after his hometown friend was killed in the line of duty. He was skilled at making rockers and after Officer’s Maddox was murdered, he remarked to his wife “I’m going to make his kids a rocking horse.”
That is how R.O.C.K. started.
Last year, Parson made 12 rocking horses for the children of fallen officers across the Southeast. But the story of Covington Police Officer Matt Cooper, who was seriously wounded in the line of duty, also touched his heart.
Officer Cooper was shot in the head on Sept. 3, 2018, while responding to a shoplifting call. He underwent several surgeries after the bullet hit his carotid artery and cause damage to his brain. He was eventually transferred from Grady Memorial Hospital to the Shepherd Center for rehab. Six days before Christmas, Cooper was allowed to go home.
The community became united, like nothing else, behind Officer Cooper and his family. This weekend, Parson joined in solidarity of that support, giving the Covington officer’s children their own rocking horse. Shannon said this was the first horse he has made for an “in the line of duty survivor.”
The Covington Police Department shared photos of the family posing with the generous gift. The black-painted rocking horse has a “Thin Blue Line” American Flag painted and engraved at the base, a dark blue, light blue, and white yarn mane and tail, and Officer Cooper’s name, badge, and badge number painted and engraved on the unfinished wooden seat.
The department also shared a video of Officer Cooper taking the first ride. In the video, Cooper starts to rock telling his kids “my turn,” to the clear amusement and joy of his young son and daughter. Cooper can be seen still wearing an orthopedic helmet, a sign of his long road to recovery ahead.
After his ride, his children got their turn. A video shared on ROCK’s Facebook page shows his little girl dressed in a black cape with pink trim, a pink “Bat” symbol on the back, and a pink mask with a “Bat” on it, not to mention the biggest smile mounted on the wooden horse for a gallop. Her brother, also dressed in a cape, at one point, tries to ride with her, but decides to wait his turn.
While his children might be dressed as superheroes, Parson believes he really did get to meet a superhero when he delivered the horse.
“It was an honor and true pleasure for us to meet Matt and his family. His spirit and humor can light up a room. As my wife said, we got to meet a real SUPER HERO!!” Parson exclaimed in a comment to the video the Covington Police Department posted.
To learn more about the ROCK’s efforts at facebook.com/Rememberingofficerschildren.