JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. On this week’s Hometown Hero segment, we focus on a man whose past is anything but heroic because it involved selling drugs. However, he has changed his life for the better and is making sure kids do not make the same mistakes he did.
John Knight used to live the street life, selling drugs for a living.
“I was in the street almost all of my life, dealing with drugs, in and out of prison, a part of violence, and gangs all of that,” he said.
At one time Knight’s name was notorious.
“I led a lot of the destruction and demise in my city, and I just want to be a part of something that was going to rebuild the communities,” he stated.
Now, he walks the streets handing out bottled water to those in need. He also volunteers at community giveaway events for non-profits. It has been eight years since Knight turned his life around. He made the decision to stop after his last drug charge when he was facing a life sentence.
“When God allowed me not to get that life sentence, I knew he had favor in my life because I was still alive,” said Knight.
He became a peer counselor at Strong Arms for Jackson, which is a non-profit that gives back to the community and helps other teenagers in the area.
“It is a blessing to be able to tell people my story and to listen to their stories and help them through their hard times,” said Knight. “Because a lot of times all people need is someone to listen to them and understand them.”
One of the lives he changed was Danika Samuel’s. She knew Knight before and after he got out of the streets.
“When I saw him change, I knew I could change,” said Samuel, “I knew if he did it, there was nothing that I could not do. I knew I could accomplish the world if I saw him do it.”
She volunteers with Knight too. Knight said he is happy with his new life and has not looked back since.
“I do not miss the drugs, I do not miss the money or looking over my shoulder. I do not miss that at all.”
He said if he can change his life, so can you.
If you know anyone who goes above and beyond in the community send an email to Heroes@WJTV.com just put “Hometown Heroes” in the subject line.