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Snow, wind, cold doesn’t stop event

Mother and son tragically die after 2016 arson in their Byron home

Mother Nature’s surprise dose of winter weather didn’t stop friends and family of Maggie (Rosko) Meyer from turning out for the third annual Infinity Run & Family Event at the Chana Education Center in Chana on Saturday.

Just over 100 runners dug out their stocking hats and gloves and braved snow and wind to run in the 5K race held in memory of Maggie and her son Amos, of Byron, who tragically died at their home in October 2016. 

“It was a beautiful turnout even though the weather was not o beautiful,” said LuAnn Rosko, Maggie’s mom, a Mt. Morris resident. “She would have loved it.”

The event was organized and hosted through The Maggie & Amos Foundation that was started by family and friends of Maggie and Amos following their deaths.

In the past two years, the event has raised more than $16,000 that has been donated back to area school teachers in classroom grants, to support materials for the Mt. Morris Public Library’s children’s section, and in scholarships for college students entering the field of special education.

The day is meant to honor Maggie and Amos, whose lives were tragically cut short on Oct. 19, 2016, when emergency crews arrived the Meyer home at 2020 N. Silverthorn Drive in Byron just after 6:30 a.m. to find the house consumed by a fire that was later determined to be deliberately set.

Maggie, 31, was found dead on a couch on the first floor of the burning home, and Amos was pronounced dead a short time later at Rockford Memorial Hospital.

Law enforcement agencies, including the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department, Byron Police Department, Illinois State Police, and the Ogle County State’s Attorney’s office, are actively investigating the case.

The forecast for several inches of wet snow on Saturday didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for the afternoon fundraising event that included a USTAF certified, chip-timed 5k run, a one-mile fun run/walk, silent auction, and a free children’s fun zone with games and prizes.

LuAnn and her husband, Don, along with their son Mark and his wife Aimee and their children Eddie, Josephine, and Warren, bundled up to lead to the 1-mile fun run/walk around the school where Maggie taught.

As participants turned down West Avenue steady waves of wet snow streamed into their faces as cold winds whipped across the non-incorporated village.

The nasty weather didn’t deter Eddie and Josephine as they delighted in jumping into mud puddles as the group walked down a gravel alley. LuAnn said it was a scene Maggie would have liked.

“She would have said ‘oh come on, suck it up buttercup.’ She was loved by so many,” LuAnn said. “I just want to thank everyone for coming out despite the weather.”

Maggie’s friend and colleague Lynn Kalnins, who is also the assistant principal at the Chana Education Center, braved the weather outside trying to get both races started on time while making sure all the kids activities were running smoothly inside the school.

Event coordinator, Stephanie White, said 250 people had registered for the 5K and fun run.

“With the weather the way it is I am actually shocked with the turnout we have,” White said. “We are so fortunate to have as many here as we do. I just want to thank everyone and all the sponsors and those who made donations as well as the community. Without all their support we would not be able to do this.”

For more information about the foundation and its efforts on the visit its Facebook page at The Maggie & Amos Foundation.