On January 31, 2013, the Lillard family of Myersville, Maryland was struck by unthinkable tragedy when a horrific house fire claimed the lives of their daughters Sophie and Madigan, killed the family’s four pets, destroyed their home and virtually all the family’s possessions, and hospitalized the surviving family members.
As Sophie and Madigan’s parents struggled to cope with the loss of their daughters, they looked for a way to honor the memory of Sophie and Madigan and pay tribute to the joy Sophie and Madigan brought their family and friends during their too short lives.
Having lost all their possessions, the Lillards were left with no physical reminders of Sophie and Madigan…none of the toys Madigan and Sophie played with, the clothes they wore, their hand drawn pictures and art projects, their favorite books, handmade jewelry…the list goes on and on. The Lillards were struck by the harsh reminder of how important memories are, especially those memories that a family creates together.
At the same time the Lillards were coping with this horrible loss, they were touched by the outpouring of support provided by the greater Frederick County, Maryland community that was rocked by the tragedy.
The Lillards realized that by creating a memorial park and themed playground, they could create a place that honors Sophie and Madigan in a way that reflects their personalities and spirits, while at the same time provide the community with a place where children and their families could build memories together that last a lifetime.
The Lillards created Sophie and Madigan’s Playground in June 2013 to honor the lives of Sophie and Madigan by providing opportunities for children and their families to play, learn, and create lifelong memories together.
Sophie and Madigan’s Playground is governed by our Board of Directors, and operated by our amazing dedicated volunteers. Volunteers are comprised of friends, family, and strangers who have become like family.
Jack Lillard is Sophie and Madigan’s dad and co-founder of Sophie and Madigan’s Playground. Jack is the team coordinator for Team SaMP, the organization’s charity endurance and fundraising program.
Jack is an Audit Manager at Cotton & Company LLP, an audit and accounting firm located in Alexandria, VA. Jack has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Maryland University College. Jack is an avid runner that has completed 9 marathons and 45 half marathons.
Chrissi is Sophie and Madigan’s mom and co-founder of Sophie and Madigan’s Playground. Chrissi continues to be a stay at home mom to Sophie and Madigan’s siblings, while following her passions as a visual artist.
Chrissi is the person behind all the local fundraising and event ideas such as Kidstock, The Butterfly Gala, The Winter Carnival, and the SaMP Kids Compassionate Kids Club. She sees Sophie and Madigan’s Playground not only as a way to honor Sophie and Madigan but as a way to actively parent them in their absence.
Becky is one of the organizations founding board members and currently serves as the Treasurer
Becky is Sophie and Madigan’s aunt and was honored to be asked to help in the creation of the organization.
She will never forget being woken up in the middle of the night and being told that the girls were unaccounted for. In the time that has followed, she has developed a deeper appreciation for how important family is and how lucky she was to have had the opportunity to create memories with the girls.
She is committed to helping others play, learn and create memories, through the building of the park as well as our programs and activities. Becky has a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University and is excited to use her 10 years of experience in the financial and accounting Industry to help the organization flourish.
Danielle joined the board in June of 2013.
Danielle lives in Brunswick MD where she lives with her husband Larry and 6 children. Danielle met the Lillard family when Sophie was just 2 years old. Her daughter Madison and Sophie were fast friends and they enjoyed lots of fun times together.
Before starting a family, Danielle worked for the Department of Defense. Danielle has also served on the board of directors for the Chromosome 9P Minus Network after her daughter Hayley was diagnosed in 2001.
Jen is a founding member of Sophie and Madigan’s Playground.
Jen met the Lillards through a local mom’s group when her son, Logan was about 1. Sophie was just 10 days older Logan.
Through playground trips and hikes, she had the pleasure of getting to know Sophie and Madigan and their incredibly kind and happy personalities. Jen is honored to be on the board not only to help create an amazing playground for the Frederick community but also for the rewarding programs that the organization brings to the greater community. Helping to ensure that all families have access to unique programs that allow them to play learn and create together!
Jen lives in Middletown MD with her husband Ryan, their kids Logan, Megan and Sean. She is an active volunteer at Monocacy Valley Montessori and has held the role of Governing Council Chair. She received her degree in Business Admin with a minor in Peace and Conflict at Elizabethtown College. She had a career in Training and Development where she focused on organizational change, quality improvement, standard operating procedures, technical writing and facilitating.
Social Media Director
Echo Morris met & fell in love with the Lillard’s when her oldest, Riley, and their oldest, Morgan, were about a year and a half. While on lots of adventures dubbed the “Mollard” adventures, their families meshed and grew together. Losing the girls was devastating to all of the Morris family and they have been involved in keeping their spirits remembered ever since. Echo has volunteered for SaMP since the beginning in various roles, Co-hosting the Butterfly Gala being one of her very favorites.
Echo live with her husband, Jeremy & their four boys, Riley, Harrison, Maddox and Dixon. You can find her looking for treasures at any thrift store within a 40 mile radius, dedicating time to helping families as a birth advocate, or pouring over her next outfit to wear to Disney World. She is so excited to see the memorial Playground open to have the opportunity to watch children and families creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Libby Miller is an Outreach Specialist that works with Sophie and Madigan’s Playground to build relationships and source new and exciting ways to share our mission!
Libby holds a BA in Communications and Theater Arts from Mercer University and has worked in the Marketing and HR fields.
Libby is from Atlanta, lived in London, and now calls Frederick home. She has a husband and two kids. Volunteer work with children has always been a passion. In addition to Sophie and Madigan’s Playground, she is also highly involved in her kid’s school, the YMCA of Frederick and all of the kid’s activities! She loves hiking, finding new playgrounds, and traveling with family!
Become a Board Member
Sophie & Madigan’s Playground is always looking to expand our board! If you are interested in helping all kids and their families play learn and create lifelong memories that honor Sophie and Madigan take a minute to fill out our questionnaire to learn more.