Rock 'n' Glow Fun Run
Despite the gray clouds and light sprinkle, 600 people signed up to participate in the third annual Rock ‘n’ Glow Fun Run/Walk in downtown Oshkosh to support grief and healing services for children in the Fox Valley area. While there may be limited services in Oshkosh to help children cope with the loss of a family member, there are many individuals who are willing to establish this type of outreach. This year’s Rock ‘n’ Glow Fun Run/Walk event raised over $100,000, which will help qualified individuals and organizations counsel grieving children. This event was spurred on by the unfortunate death of Jeremy Monnett. According to one of the event coordinators of the Run/Walk, Jay Stoflet, Monnett was loved and cared for by many.
“Jeremy left behind two young boys who had a special bond with their dad,” he said. “The main objective of this run/walk was created because the family members and close friends of Jeremy wanted to make sure the help they needed was available nearby.”
When describing the process and the planning that took place before the event, many of the themes and ideas originated from the impact J. Monnett had on the community by intertwining several of his favorite activities.
“We needed to hold a public event to celebrate the legacy of Jeremy and what he meant to the community,” Stoflet said. “Jeremy enjoyed running, family and local music.”
When it came to determining the theme of the event, those who were aware of J. Monnett’s community involvement knew exactly what to choose.
“Jeremy was instrumental in getting lights placed on the bridges over the Fox River,” Stoflet said. “We felt they were symbolic of the light he left behind in Oshkosh, so we wanted to incorporate them into the event somehow. That’s where titling the event a ‘glow run’ came from.”
Kate Monnett, J. Monnett’s wife, remembers her husband as being very committed to the Oshkosh community.
“Jeremy, who I was lucky enough to be married to, was very passionate about the community of Oshkosh,” she said. “He not only believed that you should support your community, but he lived it.”
Seeing people in the area come to support an important cause and continue the legacy in memory of J. Monnett has encouraged many. As the event took place, K. Monnett could not help but notice the positive energy involved in the event.
“There was no one without a smile on their face, everyone was just happy,” she said.
According to event participant Jen Cardinal, members of the community should take care of one another in times of need.
“It’s important for us to come together to support everyone in our community,” Cardinal said. “It’s good for the community to come together and support those family members.”
Similarly, others were looking for a fun community event to liven up their Friday evening. According to event participant Andy Hammond, who attended the event with his daughter Evelynn, they have never been to the Rock ‘n’ Glow event but were excited to participate.
“We were looking for something fun to do where we could run together,” he said. “Knowing this event supports children who have lost a family member, we were very interested in the event.”
Mother and son participants Melissa and Landon Huisman attended the event looking to get involved with something focused on the community.
“We never did a glow run in the dark before,” M. Huisman said. “You get to know your community and you get to enjoy this kind of activity.”
Event participant David Dodge did not know J. Monnett personally, but he believes events like the Rock ‘n’ Glow Fun Run/Walk are important for those who have lost family members.
“It’s always important for all of us to group together and be a community when there’s a child who has lost a parent,” he said.
Besides the $100,000 the Rock ‘n’ Glow fun Run/Walk has raised this year, in the past funds were put towards other community-enriching events.
“These funds help put lights on all of the bridges in Oshkosh,” Stoflet said. “Scholarships have been funded and the Christine Ann Center has an amazing new playground.”
Looking back, all of the coordinators put a lot of time and effort into making this event successful. People who experienced J. Monnett’s impact in their lives and in the community were afraid that his visions would remain unfulfilled, but K. Monnett believes her husband’s passions will live on. The night’s run/walk was just one part of that goal.
“Everything Jeremy did was to make things better,” she said. “He had so much passion for the community and the city of Oshkosh. So when he passed away, everybody was really scared and sad that a lot of his hopes and dreams would go away, but they’ve continued on.”