According to Mrs. Judy Shannon, it was a "family decision to begin the fund with Our Community's Foundation to support the crew program." Dr. and Mrs. Shannon's youngest son, Jonathan, had enjoyed rowing as a member of the Parkersburg High School varsity boys crew team during his high school years. Shannon, a PHS graduate, well-known as a scholar-athlete, attended the U.S. Naval Academy, and rowed as a member of the U.S. Naval Academy's crew team during his plebe year.
Dr. and Mrs. Shannon saw a need for such a support fund while their son was a team member. Although they no longer have children involved with the program, they felt that crew, as a team sport, has such as positive influence on students, that they wanted to do something to help support it in Wood County. Mrs. Shannon said that as a teacher, she noticed that, "Crew, as a team sport, has helped many children to thrive both academically and socially. The teamwork that results from each member having to depend on each other to successfully row, for the benefit of the entire team, reinforces many positive values for the team members. Crew takes many different students, who have varied personalities and abilities, and helps them to understand that it's important to do well for the sake of all. We have watched crew help students to bond in friendship, and support each other, helping out whenever it's needed, whether academically or socially."
Crew equipment is very expensive, with boats costing more than $13,000, oars in sets of eight over $2,000, and rowing machines over $750 each. Most funds are generally raised by the teams and their respective booster groups through various fundraisers. The Booster groups are especially grateful for the resources provided by the Shannon Benefit Fund.
According to Mrs. Barbara Smith, former President of Red and White Rowing (PHS Booster group), "The Parkersburg High School Crew Team is proud of its accomplishments over the years - our rowers are determined, dedicated and focused in their goals - to row to the best of their abilities and to bring home medals! There are no singular stars in rowing - the whole boat pulls hard if the whole boat is to win. Rowing is also a sport that can stay with student athletes for a lifetime. We deeply appreciate the generosity of the Shannon family in creating the Shannon Benefit Fund for Wood County Crew."