Texas Steakhouse in Clanton hosting benefit concert

Published 1:31 pm Monday, April 16, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Texas Steakhouse in Clanton is hosting a benefit concert April 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. for one of its regular customers.

His name is Judson Messer, but many people who know him refer to him as “Santa,” due to his time playing the character during the Christmas holiday season.

Unfortunately a medical issue put Messer in the hospital.

“I have known Judson for about four years,” said Luke Henry, the general manager of Texas Steakhouse. “I met him through my sister. Most everyone knows him as Santa. He’s a regular here. He eats lunch and dinner here a lot. Everybody in the community loves Jud. When we found out he needed help, we were able to pull together and do something for him.”

Henry said his restaurant does a benefit night one Tuesday each month called “Give Back Tuesday,” where 20 percent of sales for the night gets donated to “whatever group we’ve chosen.”

A musician named Kent Cooper who plays at the restaurant approached Henry about putting together a benefit concert. When Henry learned that Messer was in the hospital, Henry decided to combine this month’s benefit and the concert into a way to help out his customer and friend.

“He ended up in the hospital, and he doesn’t have insurance,” Henry said. “The bills are stacking up, and he is still ill. We are trying to raise money to help keep him afloat until he gets better.

“Kent approached us about a month ago and asked to do a benefit show where we would charge a cover or whatever.

“We thought, ‘Let’s combine this benefit show along with Judson’s fundraiser.’ So, on top of the door cover, which will be $5 that we will donate back to him, 20 percent of all of our sales will go to him.”

The list of singers and songwriters that will perform during the benefit concert include Cooper, David Ladewig, Gary L. McKee, Randall O’Steen, Ryan Downing, Josh Oakes, Chris Eiland and Slow Ride, with Dale Worall helping with sound and setup.

Henry said Cooper put the list of musicians together for the show.

“I think it will be 15-20 minutes a person,” Henry said. “We will tell stories about Jud in between about how we know him and how much we love him.”

The benefit will also include what Henry and his sister are calling a “white elephant raffle.”

“A couple of businesses have donated cards and stuff like that,” Henry said. “When you pay your $5 entry, you will get a raffle ticket. If we call your number, you will be able to pick a prize from whatever they put together.”

Henry said he will be decorating Texas Steakhouse in a Christmas theme for the concert, since Messer is known as Santa by many people.

He said the opportunity to put on the benefit for Messer made him feel “ecstatic.”

“The community is coming together for someone who does so much for so many people,” he said. “It’s heartwarming, and I’m at a loss for words. There has been such an outpouring of support for someone who brings joy to everyone he meets.”