Five to be honored as good Samaritans

There’s no shortage of good Samaritans in Mid-Missouri who go out of their way to lend a helping hand.

Community members nominated seven of these good Samaritans, and five of those nominees will be recognized as Fisher Family Good Samaritans next month at Redemption Inside the Walls.

The News Tribune and Redemption Inside the Walls partnered to honor five people with the Fisher Family Good Samaritan Award. The community voted on who it thought was most deserving of the award, and the News Tribune selected the other four individuals.

The five award recipients will receive their awards at the fifth annual Redemption Inside the Walls concert Sept. 23 at the Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fairgrounds, 1445 Fairgrounds Road, which is being headlined by Christian/gospel singer Natalie Grant, a nine-time Grammy nominee and five time GMA Dove Awards Female Vocalist of the Year. Doors open at 5 p.m.

The 2023 Fisher Family Good Samaritan Award recipients are:

• Phil Stiles, who goes above and beyond to help people in the Jefferson City and surrounding communities. For more than 35 years, he has served in many capacities for the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Department. He gives his time to the community and has served as a volunteer on many boards. He is humble and does not pat himself on the back or seek any recognition, and he is compassionate and always willing to lend a hand. Stiles was voted the community choice for the Fisher Family Good Samaritan Award.

• Joe Schepers, who continually assists seniors in living their best lives in Jefferson City. He is the administrator of Independent Living at Heisinger Bluffs and is active in many groups in the community, dedicating his time to make sure they are living life to the fullest. He always has a smile on his face and is ready to make a difference.

• Derrijk Hollon, chiropractor and owner of Hollon Family Chiropractic, who believes in giving back to the community in many ways. For years, he donated $20 service fees for new patients in full to local charities, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars, according to his nomination. He has also served on the Special Learning Center Operations Board and is a member of the Capital Shrine Club-Moolah Shrine and the Jefferson Lodge No. 43 of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons. He was the worshipful master in 2021 and was a member of the board of trustees. He has sponsored sports teams, American Red Cross, Pregnancy Help Center, RACS, 4-H groups, Special Olympics and the Special Learning Center, to name a few.

• Lee Knernschield, the recently-appointed president of the United Way of Central Missouri, who has devoted her professional career to nonprofit organizations. She is the former program director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson City, a role she held for 20 years. Prior to her position at Big Brothers Big Sisters, she was the vice president of the United Way of Central Missouri for seven years. In that role, she was instrumental in starting United Way Day of Caring and the event now known as Kids United FunFest.

• Ann Bax, the former president of the United Way of Central Missouri. Under her leadership, the organization enjoyed steady growth with its annual campaign nearly doubling its fundraising. Two new agencies were brought into the network, and the United Way expanded its Community Support Grants program (which provides grants to agencies regardless of whether they are United Way partners), has purchased a mobile food truck in partnership with the United Way foundation, the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, and has weathered a series of disasters. Notably, Bax guided United Way through recovery efforts after the 2019 tornado and flooding, and again in 2020 assisting agencies to navigate the pandemic.

The other two nominees were:

• Lisa Peterson, who volunteers at The Pantry JC, whose mission is to “reduce food insecurity and empower Mid-Missouri residents with confidence in food preparation,” according to its website. Peterson has gone out of her way to help others and assist anyone in need.

• Aaron Mealy, a city councilman who serves the community in many ways. From litter cleanups, Missouri River relief, food bank volunteering, volunteer trail maintenance and invasive plant removal in local parks, he’s hands-on and driven to improve our community. Mealy is also passionate about helping individuals on a one-on-one basis and volunteers with Project Homeless Connect and Jefferson City Room at the Inn homeless shelter.

Those interested in attending this year’s Redemption Inside the Walls can purchase tickets at or at the entrance of the event.

Proceeds from the concert will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson City, which “makes meaningful, monitored matches” between adult volunteers and children “as part of the nation’s largest donor-and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters,” according to the organization’s website.

The event will also include a silent auction and raffle to benefit Leah Hargrove, a Centertown child who was born with several disabilities. RITW co-chair Paula Benne initially started the concert as a way to raise funds for Leah. Silent auction and raffle items can be found at