The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 23, 2013

Lots of memories, but the bike sticks out

By VAN HOLLAND
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER

GREENVILLE — Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight has a lot of memorable Christmases, but remembers when he was 10 years old and woke up Christmas morning and discovered Santa Claus had brought him a new bicycle. That particular Christmas has stuck with him as he grew up and was the most memorable one he had during his childhood.

"It meant a lot to me to get that bicycle, because everybody in the neighborhood had one and I didn't," Knight said. "Before I got mine, the other kids let me ride theirs and since we lived in the county that was our way of transportation."

Through his years growing up, Knight has always had the same feeling about Christmas. He said it hasn't changed in his mind as he celebrates each year, even though each Christmas takes on a new meaning for him, because each one has its own special meaning.

Knight said he has enjoyed all of his Christmases in a Christian sense, because he knows that it means that Jesus was born and it is a way of salvation for his soul.

Knight said as a child growing up, Christmas meant he was going to get some toys and got to see some of his family that he didn't see often and that added a special touch to his Christmases.

As the sheriff got older, he said Christmas had a much deeper meaning to him, because it meant salvation to him and let him know about his soul being saved.

"Christmas meant Jesus was born and as I got older that meant a lot to me in the religious aspect," Knight said. "The togetherness side of Christmas is important for me now, because I still have my family that I can celebrate with and I am able to help less fortunate people throughout the county."

During his years in law enforcement, Knight has had some very memorable Christmases. He has brought a smile to some children's faces whose families were less fortunate and he was able to help in various ways to make sure they had something.

"One Christmas I went to the homeless shelter and helped serve food there and that was a special feeling," Knight said. "Numerous Christmases I have been able to help less fortunate children when we had 'Shop with a Cop' through our department. That made those children happy when they were able to pick out some presents."

This year, Knight wants to make it another memorable Christmas, so he and some of his deputies are making a trip to the hospital to pass out some presents to the young patients.

"We have Santa Claus set up to go with us to the hospital and visit some of the children there," Knight said. "We don't want them to miss out, because they are sick."

Knight said he has had some criminal cases stick with him, especially during Christmas, because the crimes happened around that time of the year or affected the families during Christmas.

He doesn't have one particular case that jumps out at him, but one that he remembers is giving closure to the families of the missing women who were murdered.

"Anytime a child is involved I remember it during this time of the year," Knight said. "I keep a lot of cases in the back of my mind like the rapes, murders and anything involving children."

Knight said this Christmas will also be a memorable one for his family, because they are going through a personal issue and his church family has stepped up and gave them comfort.

"Not sure if it's because I am older or wiser, but having my church family there around Christmas means something special to me and my family," Knight said. "I just enjoy being in the presence of a loving and giving atmosphere and that means a lot."

Knight said Christmas really brings out the good in a lot of people and it is a very special time of the year.