David Knight: A big man with an Even Bigger Heart
By Dorothy Inman-Johnson
Special to the Outlook
Everyone who has been blessed to meet and know David Knight will tell anyone who will listen that they have never met a more kind, generous, gentle giant as David. Because of his kindness and willingness to come to the aid of anyone needing his help, he dedicates as much time to service for others as to his own family. Besides being a deacon at his church, a former City Council Member and Mayor in Midway, Florida; he has been a loyal employee of the City of Tallahassee for 35 years; where he is currently Facilities Supervisor for the Underground Utilities Department.
When contacted for a comment about David, Tallahassee City Manager_ Rick Fernandez_ stated the following:
“David is the most devoted and humble leader at the city; who shows up every day, is very professional, and always puts the customer’s needs first. Whenever his department holds events for employees, they always insist that David do the cooking. I’m extremely proud and happy to know him.”
Likewise, David regularly treated Midway employees to his culinary skills as a way of showing appreciation for their hard work. At least two or three times a year, Mayor Knight would prepare a feast of barbecue or fish he had freshly caught, while his wife Zoie prepared a delicious array of side dishes_ all at his family’s expense. This was in addition to the countless hours of his personal time spent helping resolve citizens’ problems in Midway, after a day of hard work in Tallahassee. Even after retiring from the City Council, he continues to be the “go to” person for citizens with problems.
Interviews with two men who have known David for over 45 years, Charlie Cook and Roosevelt Williams, echo comments I heard repeatedly from everyone I spoke with about David Knight. Charlie Cook said David is “one of the greatest guys and best friends I know. He’s more than a friend; he’s a jewel. He’s such a big guy that when I first met him, I was intimidated. But I soon learned he’s just a gentle giant who is a friend to everyone he meets, regardless of ethnicity or financial status”. He went on to share a specific example in which a neighbor needed an area filled in with sand. When he awoke the next morning, David was already there with his equipment taking care of the job, and refused to accept anything for his hard work. Cook added, “David exhibits his Christian faith in everything he does. Never met another person like him! He’s one of a kind”.
His friend Roosevelt Williams, who moved to the Atlanta area a few months ago, describes David in the following way.
“I have three brothers left, but David is as much or more like a brother to me. I know that even being 4 hours away, if I needed David, he would drop everything and come immediately. I have never heard him say a harsh word to or about anyone.” Over the years since they met in 1972, he and David became best friends_ spending many hours playing basketball, fishing, and hunting together. And David was always quick to share with neighbors and friends the wild game from the hunt or fish caught during these outings. Roosevelt said, “I’m always afraid he might work himself into bad health trying so hard to help other people”.
On any given day, you are likely to see David out in the community doing good deeds for neighbors and friends_ whether volunteering to cut the grass at the Eugene Lamb Park, or helping repair a stranger’s car broken down by the side of the road. He is completely committed to his church, Midway Church of God, where he serves as a deacon, on the Trustee Board, and the Finance Committee. And many consider him the best Mayor Midway ever had. He and Zoie celebrated 38 years of marriage over the Memorial Day weekend. It was well-deserved time for both of them together.
Please send recommendations for future Persons of the Week to firstname.lastname@example.org