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Good Samaritans recognized at Redemption Inside the Walls

by Joe Gamm | September 18, 2022 at 4:10 a.m.
Recipients of the Fisher Family Good Samaritan Awards were recognized Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, during the Redemption Inside the Walls concert at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds. (Ken Barnes/News Tribune)

Five Fisher Family Good Samaritans received recognition Saturday night at the annual Redemption Inside the Walls concert.

Lisa Breedlove, who was voted the Community Choice winner of the awards, said after receiving her award our job as Christians is to help other people.

Breedlove spends most of her time helping others through good deeds, such as giving parents a break by watching their children, cooking meals for someone who is sick, providing rides for people without a car, and offering a listening ear for people who are struggling.

She is the pastor's wife at Landmark Church, were she can be found filling in for teachers, teaching Bible studies or caring for for children in the nursery.

"It doesn't matter what their background is -- we're to help other people," Breedlove said. "My passion, my burden is to help single moms to get their kids back."

She said she's never known what it's like to be away from her children, for even a single night. And some women have been separated from their children for long periods of time. They have that first interaction and they just don't know how to do it, Breedlove said.

She'll sit down with them one-on-one to answer their questions.

"'How do I interact with my child? What's good, what's not?'" she said of their questions.

One technique to ease their minds, she said, was simply to get children outside interacting with nature -- getting them outside their homes.

"Jefferson City is a beautiful community. We have a lot to offer," Breedlove said. "I'm happy to be part of it."

Erin Evans said she's been a Jefferson City Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for about a year now.

Evans' full-time job is manager of the Jefferson Bank Eastland branch. CASA volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children in courtrooms, and are the eyes and ears of judges outside courtrooms. She is a friend, advocate and role model to children she connects with through CASA and often takes them out for ice cream, cheers them on at games and finds personalized ways to put smiles on their faces.

"I love it," Evans said. "I have a son that ... goes to public school, and I wanted a way to give back to children that he goes to school with. There is a need for people. These children have been taken out of their homes and are placed in special situations."

Evans continued by saying she has three adopted siblings who had a CASA.

"I saw the impact he had on their lives and thought that was a perfect way to get involved here in Jeff City," Evans said.

Margaret Thoenen said she's been involved in home construction and real estate for decades.

Thoenen helps people find jobs to buy or rent. She has even created jobs for people who could not find one for extra income. She visits retirement homes, hospitals and neighbors. She delivers meals to the homebound or sick, and offers people assistance when they need it. She oftentimes sends sympathy cards to grieving families or thank you cards to those who have provided good service.

"I read my paper every morning before 7," Thoenen said. "I cut out a lot of articles and pictures, good deeds, sports, honor roll, and make sure I don't miss a visitation or funeral if I can make it."

It's humbling when people express their gratitude for the notes and cards they receive from her, she said.

"I enjoy helping out people whenever I can," she said.

Sherrie Downs said The Pantry JC is a unique organization.

Downs is the volunteer coordinator at the pantry and a caregiver for Alzheimer's patients. She offers rides to church for those who cannot drive. For people in need, she puts together flower arrangement from her garden to give them alongside food. She teaches English to Spanish speakers.

"Our desire (at The Pantry JC) is to teach people how to stretch their food budget, to learn how to cook from scratch, which many people want to do," Downs said. "The beauty of it is that we operate totally on donations. We don't have to fill out paperwork. We just tell people, 'If you have the need, let us serve you.'"

Heather Gieck was unable to attend the Redemption event.

Gieck has helped women overcome substance use disorders and mental health issues as the founder and director of The Health House and New Beginnings, which houses up to 25 women. Healing House clients attend classes in spirituality, recovery, life skills and more.

Now in its fourth year, Redemption is a concert intended to unify the Christian community and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to its website, The 2022 event benefits the Jefferson City Council for Drug Free Youth.

Rend Collective, a collection of instrumentalists from the United Kingdom, performed at the event.

The night included a silent raffle to benefit Leah Hargrove, a Centertown child born with several disabilities.

A silent auction offered scores of gift baskets, crafts and hand-painted vintage furniture.

Dan Kohl, of Holts Summit, said it was a beautiful, breezy evening.

"We're Christians and we wanted to support programs around here, and enjoy the music," Kohl said. "We're looking forward to a nice evening."


Lisa Breedlove there for those in need

Erin Evans strives to help children in need

Margaret Thoenen takes time to care for others

Sherrie Downs remains a caregiver through retirement

Heather Gieck uses past hardships to help others heal

In the accompanying video, the Fisher Family Good Samaritan Award recipients receive their awards at the Redemption Inside the Walls concert.

  photo  Christian music duo Land of Color performed at Redemption Inside the Walls Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at the Jaycees Cole County Fairgrounds. (Ken Barnes/News Tribune)
  photo  Northern Ireland Christian band Rend Collection highlighted the evening at the Redemption Inside the Walls concert Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds. (Ken Barnes/News Tribune)
  photo  A large crowd turned out at the Jaycees Fairgrounds to enjoy the weather and an evening of worship Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, during the Redemption Inside the Walls concert. (Ken Barnes/News Tribune)


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