The recognition David Knight recently received for volunteering to help veterans is unprecedented.
He is the first resident of P.E.I. to be named as a member of the Order of St. George for his ongoing work helping veterans and military families.
John Yeo, past president of the Charlottetown legion, says the special nod is a prestigious one that has been well earned by Knight.
He says Knight does tremendous volunteer work for the P.E.I. Military Family Services and the Royal Canadian Legion, not to mention his community work in church and school, among other areas.
Yeo says Knight always answers the call when asked to help the legion, whether at the Charlottetown branch or at the provincial level.
“It’s ‘yes, John, what can I do?’ It’s phenomenal.’’
The Order of St. George upholds the values of chivalry and being of service to those in need. Members of the Order give their time and resources to the community, providing leadership and support in many areas.
The Order of St. George means a great deal to Knight.
Even being considered, he says, was both an honour and a privilege that left him feeling a bit embarrassed at the time.
“I’ve worked with a lot of volunteers and I know that they work just as hard as well,’’ he says.
Still, volunteering is in Knight’s blood. Volunteering for veterans is even more personal.
His family has a strong military history. His mother’s brothers all served in the Second World War.
Knight grew up in Australia feeling — and living — that military connection.
He was in the air force cadets as a youth before later joining the military, climbing to the rank of sub lieutenant and serving with a commando unit and later as a special forces liaison.
As a “young fella’’ he would volunteer in a seniors’ home. When he got older, he drove a bus to take the seniors on outings. Many of those seniors were veterans.
Shortly after moving to P.E.I. in 2004, he jumped right into volunteering to help veterans as well as military families. He provides regular support to the P.E.I. Military Family Services, the Charlottetown Legion, and even one-on-one assistance to veterans.
He says his volunteer work, though considerable and time consuming, pales next to the efforts and sacrifices of veterans.
“My little bit of service is nothing compared to what has been offered in the past (by veterans),’’ he says.
“It’s a part of who I am and it was kind of the way I was brought up. So I do want to raise the profile of the legion and try to raise some funding which will go directly towards veterans and their needs.’’
Knight, 49, lives in Little York with his wife, Christina, a teacher at Westwood Elementary School, and the couple’s children: Kathryn, 12, Sarah, 11, and Davis, 6.
He is in the Navy Reserve with HMCS Queen Charlotte but plans to continue to find plenty of time to help veterans and military families.