DENHAM SPRINGS—Denham Springs Deputy Marshal Raymond Lee says they presented several gifts after receiving numerous donations for Corporal Shawn Kelly’s family.
Cpl. Kelly, a Denham Springs Police officer, was shot in the line of duty on May 11 while responding to a disturbance at Petco on Range Avenue. He died from his injuries on June 2.
Cpl. Kelly’s 5-yr-old son Liam loves collecting patches and challenge coins. Deputy Marshal Lee took it upon himself to do just that after his fellow friend and co-worker died in the line of duty.
“I’ve seen Shawn interact with his son, so I know they were very close. It’s hard to put into words what Shawn meant,” Lee told UWK when he started collecting. “Our paths crossed initially at the Baton Rouge Constable’s Office, and then they crossed again when I became full-time at the marshal’s office in Denham Springs. Shawn was always very personable. He had a great sense of humor, but he also took his job very seriously. For me, Shawn was a great person and colleague.”
Lee said they had collected over 500 patches and 70 challenge coins over the past three months. He said they used the patches to make five quilts for each of Kelly’s children and his wife, Megan. He said people donated other gifts as well, including teddy bears, t-shirts, stickers, and pins.
“It was surreal at the amount of patches that we collected because I didn’t think we would have gotten that,” he said. “It was exciting. We enjoyed doing it. Of course, it wasn’t the best occasion, but we enjoyed every minute of getting them done and seeing how the quilts came out.”
The marshal’s office began collecting the patches and coins in May. Lee said he received patches from all over the country and personalized pins and necklaces for Cpl. Kelly’s youngest child, Liam.
Lee said he was nervous when they went to present the gifts. They hoped the family would like it. He said 5-year-old Liam gravitated toward the teddy bear.
“That was his pride and joy of the collection,” Lee recalled. “I’d like to thank every first responder, military person, and private citizen for taking time to send us patches, coins, and other gifts. I’d like to thank Tammy Gill and Rusti Lee for helping sew the patches. I want to thank Janet Melancon for the idea of the quilts and her time to put them together. I also want to thank Marshal Joe Shumate for the endless support and allowing us to take on this project.”
The deputy marshal said he was a part of Liam’s escort on his first day of kindergarten in mid-August.
“We were really appreciative,” Lee said. “It was a bittersweet moment to be a part of. It was exciting to be a part of his first day of kindergarten, and we wish him well, but we wish we didn’t have to do that. We would’ve much rather Shawn see his kid off to school. They will forever have a family in law enforcement.”