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Though many aspects of life have returned to somewhat normal after the emergence of the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people are still looking for something — and Redemption Inside the Walls concert organizers hope to provide a "light in the darkness."

The third Redemption Inside the Walls will be Aug. 28 at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds.

Concert organizer Paula Benne said this year's theme, "Light in the Darkness," is meant to signal what they hope the event will be for the entire community.

"If (people) have questions, if they are looking for something in the dark, the light in the darkness is what we are all about this year," Benne said.

Aaron Shust

Aaron Shust is a Christian musician who has been recognized as 2007 Songwriter of the Year and New Artist of the Year for his hit song, which also won Song of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards, "My Savior My God."

Organizers said they were thrilled to secure Shust as the headliner for this year's concert. Benne said Shust came in early in the process and is also the reason the concert was moved to late August from its usual date in September. Shust, who spends considerable time in ministry and collaboration in Israel, is due to head to Israel in the fall and needs to quarantine before and after the trip, Benne said.

Shust's focus on ministry is one of the reasons organizers are excited to have him perform, as the concert itself seeks to benefit The Healing House and New Beginnings, a Christian recovery ministry.

"He has a really good grasp on ministry, and so I think that's where his concert is going to be engaging for the people that are going to be there at the concert," organizer Kirk DeMars said.

Another reason is Shust's experience with children who have special needs. Shust has a son with Down syndrome, and the concert this year will include the Special Learning Center doing a special national anthem, DeMars said.

Gates will open at 5 p.m., with Redemption Worship United opening the concert at that time. Shust will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.

Good Samaritan Awards

Along with the Redemption Inside the Walls concert, organizers are excited for the return of the Good Samaritan Awards, which honors community members who have gone out of their way to help others.

The awards were first born out of the May 2019 tornado that hit Mid-Missouri. Concert organizers and the News Tribune partnered to honor "Heroes of the Storm," community members who were nominated and selected for going above and beyond in the hours and days following the tornado.

To continue honoring community members, organizers created the John G. Fisher Good Samaritan Award last year. The award was first named after John Fisher, the former part-owner of the Jefferson City Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken restaurant who died in March 2020. But just before the concert last year, another member of the Fisher family passed, and the awards were renamed the Fisher Family Good Samaritan Award. Fisher and his family were known for volunteering in Mid-Missouri, DeMars said.

"They work hard in the community, they're involved in the community and they had a heart for being able to recognize people in the community," DeMars said.

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

"I moved here from Buffalo, New York, and this community doesn't know how good a community this is. This is a great opportunity to recognize your neighbor for the good things that they did," Benne said. "It isn't just for the nominee, it's for the nominator."

There will be five award recipients.

The News Tribune is asking the community to submit nominations for the Fisher Family Good Samaritan Award.

A Fisher Family 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.

- Has not previously won this award.

Nominations can be submitted at

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

The News Tribune will accept nominations through Aug. 6.

The community then will be able vote for who they think deserves the new award. Voting will begin Aug. 9 and run through Aug. 16. Community members can vote at special-sections/contests.

The News Tribune will select the other four award recipients.

The recipients will be invited to the Aug. 28 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 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 from the 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.

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