We need more people like this... A knight in shining armor
From today's Boston Herald....
A Knight in shining armor: Philanthropist a godsend to families of states jakes, cops
by Michelle McPhee, the Boston Herald
The motto of The Hundred Club is, “We Care for Those Who Care for Us.”
Those words completely exemplify the philanthropy of one of its founders, Norman Knight, who at 83 has quietly spent decades helping hundreds of widows and children of Massachusetts police officers and firefighters.
Mention Knight’s name to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and you will hear the story of how when his own father - a Lowell police officer - died of a heart attack, it was The Hundred Club that stepped in to help.
“Norman Knight. I just remember his kindness,” Davis said.
If Knight’s name comes up in front of Ed Kelly, president of the union that represents Boston firefighters, you will hear countless stories about firefighters who suffered smoke inhalation who are able to benefit from the Norman Knight Hyperbaric Medicine Center. It is the only one in the state that helps the bravest with rapid recovery.
“He’s done a lot for firefighters,” Kelly said. “More than I can remember.”
City Councilor Michael Flaherty grew up hearing his own father, a judge, point to Norman Knight as an example of the generosity of spirit that he hoped his own children would develop. Flaherty can tell you about the Boston cops who have died in the line of duty whose families were taken care of with scholarships and financial help and annual Christmas parties.
“If I had my way, he would be Massachusetts man of the year,” Flaherty said. “I’ve never known him to turn anyone in need away.”
Cops and firefighters are Knight’s heart, and have been since The Hundred Club was created in 1959. While many have paused to pray for civil servants killed in the line of duty, many forget their sacrifice.
Knight never does. There are 361 fire departments and 342 police agencies that have benefited from his loving hand.
He is the president of the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial Commission, which is independently raising money for a site near the State House to honor every firefighter killed in the line of duty.
Cops all over the city, including Davis, joined police forces only after losing parents in line-of-duty deaths, guided along the way with some financial help from The Hundred Club.
Most recently, Knight met with the family of Denise Corbett, the Boston police officer who took her own life in December after years of carrying around the trauma of watching one Boston bomb squad cop die and another permanently maimed with an explosive that was detonated in a Roslindale driveway in 1991 when she was a rookie. Her cop widower and the couple’s five children were offered support.
But ask Norman Knight about himself, and it is impossible to get an answer. He is the epitome of humble, a man without even a hint of self-centeredness.
Tomorrow afternoon, however, there will be plenty of others who will talk about Knight and his work during a dedication ceremony for the new Norman Knight Nursing Center for Clinical and Professional Development at Massachusetts General Hospital. Knight, who has survived bouts with cancer, has added another caregiver to his ever-growing list of benefactors: nurses.
“I wanted a place that would bring respect to the nursing profession,” Knight said in an interview at his Gloucester Street offices last week.
And in return, every civil servant in our fine state should remember to respect the quiet work of Knight at The Hundred Club.