Knab close to ending storied career at Legal Services
[subtitle]Person of the Week[/subtitle]
By Sean Sanders
Kristine “Kris” Knab has seen almost everything that relates to legal issues in her 38 years of working with Legal Services of North Florida.
“An elderly man suffering from dementia is taken advantage of by his adult children and is at risk of losing his home,” she said, running through a short list of the injustices she’s seen.
Then there is more: “A single mother’s only means of transportation to get to her job that is 25 miles away is destroyed in a fire. A woman who has suffered years of physical abuse by her husband has nowhere else to turn and no resources to end the marriage.
“Stories like these happen every day and serve as a harsh reminder of the struggles that individuals and families in need regularly face,” said Knab.
Tough as the situations might be, they are what drive Knab to find a resolution in the best interest of the people she represents. Being able to help has been her gratification.
But pretty soon she will step away when she retires later this year. Knab is expected to be replaced by Leslie Powell in the role of executive director.
Her years of dedication have earned her many accolades. Knab was recently honored as recipient of the Jack McLean Champion for Legal Services Award.
“Kris Knab has made a difference in this community,” said McLean, who presented Knab with the award.
She also was the first person to receive the Attorney General Award for Excellence in Public Service.
For more than 22 years of her time with Legal Service, Knab has served as the executive director. What is most unique about Knab’s service is the target population for LSNF’s resources.
Legal Services’ main function is to provide aid for lower income people and those that may suffer from life’s difficulties while focusing on providing legal representation.
Knab said she knew the moment she enrolled into law school that she wasn’t in the game to become a lawyer. Instead, she was in it to implement the kind of change that LSNF gives her the resources to execute.
“I’m really a social worker with an advanced degree,” Knab said. “It’s an honor to be a part of a job that rewards more than just pay. We are making real change.”
As executive director, she has to employ a variety of skills to manage a collaborative effort of individuals engaged in meeting the company’s mission. Her duties also include writing grants, governing a large staff all while possessing excellent leadership qualities with a meek and humble spirit.
Since accepting the role of executive director Knab has overseen the daily functions of LSNF in times where federal and state funding resulted in staff reductions and other cuts. Through the adversity LSNF has still kept to its mission of preservation of homes, support of families, and promotion of employment, safety and stability.