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Run to memorialize plane crash victims

Focus Services event to raise scholarship money in their name

ROY — All that the five Focus Services employees wanted to do was help build a school in Guatemala.

But on Aug. 24, 2008, while they were en route to Alta Verepez, their plane caught fire and crashed, killing four of the Focus employees and seven others. Three of those killed were Utahns.

Dan Liljenquist, Focus' president and chief operating officer, is one of three survivors.

"There are no finer people on the face of the earth than those folks," Liljenquist, also a state senator, said Thursday.

Just shy of the crash's first anniversary, Focus Services, which provides direct sales and customer service support, is raising money for scholarships in each employee's name: John Carter, of Morgan; Cody Odekirk, of North Ogden; and Jeff Reppe and Lydia Silva, from Illinois.

Focus is memorializing them with a four-mile run — one mile for each employee — called the Focus Four Run.

The run and an accompanying one-mile walk begin at 7 a.m. Saturday and will start at George Wahlen North Park, 4200 S. 1900 West in Roy.

Registration for the run is available online at www.focusfourrun.com or at the park on Saturday before the two events. Registration for the four-mile run is $20 and $15 for the walk.

Liljenquist, whose legs were broken in the crash, said the company and the families of the victims worked together to come up with the walk and run, which they hope will be an annual event in Roy and in Rock Falls, Ill., where Silva and Reppe worked.

It's especially meaningful for Liljenquist, not just because he knew his co-workers so well, but because he was there.

"There's great comfort that we were going down there to do something good." he said. "You want to make your life count. Those folks were certainly doing that.

"I hope the community will come and support our efforts to remember them," Liljenquist said. "We miss them greatly."

e-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com

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