Honoring a true friend

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shelby County lost a true friend last month. In August, Al Knight passed away from injuries suffered in an accident at his home. Al’s courage and dignity during his time in the hospital is an inspiration to us all.

I have known Al since the early 1980s; I was an assistant district attorney working in the courthouse, and Al was an active Republican who was soon elected to the Alabama Legislature. Al loved Shelby County.

Throughout the time I knew him, he was deeply involved in many projects that helped make Shelby County what it is today. Al was a co-author of the original legislation that created the American Village, one of Shelby County’s brightest lights.

He was active on the board of trustees and took a keen interest as the American Village grew over the years. From the time it was just an idea, Al recognized that the American Village would be a wonderful learning environment for people of all ages and would help instill American values for generations to come.

Appropriately, there was a very nice memorial service for Al at the American Village’s Chapel. Sitting in that glorious place, I thought about how fortunate we are to call Shelby County home. It has taken the tireless hard work of people with vision, people like Al Knight, to make our county into this place that makes us all so proud.

We can honor Al Knight and all like him by carrying on his work for a better Shelby County.

Not everyone can help create a gem like the American Village but it, in and of itself, is not what makes our county so fine.

It is our friends and neighbors who volunteer to teach Sunday School, our youth who volunteer at nursing homes, our senior citizens who spend thousands of hours volunteering around our county and everyone who just lives by that Golden Rule of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” that makes Shelby County such a special place.

We miss you, Al, but we will honor you every day by our actions.

Jim Fuhrmeister is the Shelby County Probate Judge.