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People are struggling — mentally, physically, spiritually — during the coronavirus pandemic, but Redemption Inside the Walls concert organizers hope to remind them Jefferson City is full of hope and supportive people, using headliner Michael W. Smith's music and a new "Good Samaritan" award as inspiration.

The second Redemption Inside the Walls will be Sept. 19 at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds.

"From the very beginning, this was about bringing our community together in unity, just helping everybody understand that each person has value, and we want to be able to reach out and release that message into our community," concert organizer Kirk DeMars said. "Last year was the perfect opportunity to do that with the tornado and the flood happening, and of course now this year, we have the pandemic. There's just a lot of hurting people out there, and we just want to let people know there is hope, and there are people who support them."

Michael W. Smith

Three-time Grammy Award winner Michael W. Smith is a Christian musician who has produced big hits like "Place in This World," "I Will Be Here for You," "Waymaker" and "Surrounded (Fight My Battles)."

Organizers said they are excited to have Smith headline this year's concert, adding they are still surprised they were able to sign him for the event.

They originally had another band scheduled as this year's headliner, concert organizer Paula Benne said, but the band canceled at the last minute. Then, because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers were struggling to find a headliner.

"We were sweating because it was getting close to time, and we knew we just needed to get some entertainment," Benne said. "Then Michael just fell in our laps, and we thought, 'How did this happen? How did we get Michael, a three-time Grammy Award winner?' So we are excited."

Gates will open at 5 p.m., with Family Church Worship opening the concert at that time. Smith will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.

Good Samaritan Award

Smith isn't the only reason organizers are excited about this year's concert. They will honor community members who are the definition of a "good Samaritan," having gone out of their ways to help others.

Last year, concert organizers and the News Tribune honored "Heroes of the Storm," community members who were nominated and selected for going above and beyond in the hours and days following the May 2019 tornado.

To continue honoring community members, organizers created the John G. Fisher Good Samaritan Award. The award is named after John Fisher, the former part-owner of the Jefferson City Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken restaurant who died in March. Fisher and his family were known for volunteering in Mid-Missouri, DeMars said.

The Good Samaritan Award not only recognizes those unnoticed heroes, Benne said, but also allows people to thank community members.

"There's a lot of people who do a lot of really good things that never get out into the open, and they go unnoticed," DeMars said. "There's a lot of really good people pouring their hearts into the community and the people. If we have the opportunity, we're trying to recognize that the best way we can."

Concert organizers hope to make this an annual award.

There will be five award recipients this year.

The News Tribune is asking the community to submit nominations for the John G. Fischer Good Samaritan Award.

A John G. Fisher Good Samaritan Award recipient should be a person who:

- Lives in Mid-Missouri.

- Does good deeds out of compassion and not because of any hope of reward.

- May shy away from attention about his or her efforts.

- Unselfishly helps others and extends mercy, especially to strangers.

Nominations can be submitted at

When submitting a nomination for the John G. Fisher Good Samaritan Award, include the nominee's name, a 200-word or less description of why he or she is a good Samaritan, and a photo of the person.

The News Tribune will accept nominations from Aug. 16 through Sept. 6.

The community then will be able vote for who they think deserves the new award. Voting will begin Sept. 7 and run through Sept. 12. Community members can vote at

The News Tribune will select the other four award recipients.

The recipients will be invited to the Sept. 19 Redemption Inside the Walls concert, where they will receive their awards.

Those interested in attending this year's Redemption Inside the Walls can purchase tickets at and at the entrance of the event. Adult general admission costs $30 per ticket, while general admission for children 4-12 years old is $15 per ticket. Children 3 years old and younger may enter free.

The concert also offers VIP seating, reserved seating and group adult general admission tickets. The full list of ticket prices can be found on the event's website.

Proceeds from the concert will go to The Healing House and New Beginnings, a Christian recovery ministry.

Benne initially started the concert as a way to raise funds for Leah Hargrove, a Centertown child who was born with several disabilities. While funds for this year's concert will go to The Healing House and New Beginnings, Benne said, New Hope Baptist Church will have a tent with silent auction items, and proceeds from that auction will go to Hargrove.

COVID-19 precautions

Organizers will encourage attendees to wear masks and practice social distancing at this year's concert to prevent spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

"You can social distance — because that's the beauty of the fairgrounds — and listen to Michael W. Smith and an awesome message," Benne said.

Last year's Redemption Inside the Walls concert, which featured Christian band Newsboys, attracted more than 1,700 attendees, Benne said.

Due to the anticipated large crowd this year, organizers decided it was best to keep the concert at the fairgrounds instead of moving it to the Missouri State Penitentiary, where they originally wanted to hold it.

Last year's concert was supposed to be at MSP, but damage from the May 2019 tornado forced organizers to move it to the fairgrounds.

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