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Thankful for Knight’s altruism

only met Curtis Knight once that I can remember.

He came to the EAGLE office last December with photographs of him and his partner Terry Lytal shopping for Christmas gifts for families in need.

The two had just started the group Oxford Cares to ensure that children in Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis would have a Christmas, especially if they were stuck in a hospital bed or their family couldn’t afford Christmas due to costly medical treatments.

It didn’t stop there — they also delivered gifts to those at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, right here in Oxford, on Christmas Day. And Knight said even if they didn’t have enough gifts or donated funds left after going to Memphis, the money would come out of their pockets to make it happen.

But before Christmas hit, a tornado struck Holly Springs. He and Terry took a trip up there to bring some donations and cheer to those impacted by the devastation.

Their effort was rock solid and many people gave money and gifts. They had stockpiles of gifts all around their house and Bruce Newman took their photo for us to make them a Sunday Living section front story.

All their effort took was an initial startup on Facebook, word of mouth and a little bit of time volunteering.

While talking with Curtis about photos, he was friendly and helpful, as many people in Oxford will describe him.

While I only met him briefly, my email inbox has processed his name more than once.

I regularly reach out to people in the community and ask for recommendations for residents who are doing great things in the schools or in the community. Those recommendations become stories we use for Tuesday’s Educational Excellence slot and Friday’s Everyday Hero slot. Curtis Knight’s name wound up in there regularly for his altruism.

While Curtis died on Friday, his efforts in the community will not be forgotten. His caring nature and eye for design will be remembered for time to come by friends, family and those who have homes decorated by him.

People who put together fundraisers and genuinely care for others are a rare breed these days. I’m thankful for Curtis’ efforts to make Oxford and the surrounding region a more cheerful place.

I hope that in the coming years people will continue the Oxford Cares movement he helped start and keep the caring going. Oxford does have caring people who want to help others, and it now has Curtis’ legacy to continue.

Stephanie Rebman is editor of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact her at stephanie.rebman@oxfordeagle.com.