Sometimes, after a story appears in the paper, some intriguing aspects come to light that add perspective. In the past week or so, a couple of those surfaced. On Independence Day, we ran a brief obituary for John Knighten, a Spokane firefighter with roots here in the Wenatchee Valley who passed away at age 45. What was unreported was that Knighten died of multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that is presumed to have been caused by Knighten inhaling carcinogens while fighting fires. So, in reality, Knighten died in the line of duty as much as any firefighter who perished in a blaze. A 19-year veteran of the Spokane Fire Department and a former Marine, he will receive a line-of-duty funeral with military honors. Knighten was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and endured two bone marrow transplants, one from his brother. Here are some details provided by Trina Knighten, his sister-in-law. "John and his family moved to the Wenatchee Valley in 1976. He wrestled all through high school and graduated from Eastmont in 1986, He was involved in a youth firefighting program with the Wenatchee Fire Department when he was in high school. He joined the Marine Corp in 1986. After serving for four years with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, he joined the Spokane Fire Department in 1994 where he was voted top recruit." His heroic battle with cancer was chronicled on the website savejohnknighten.com. Knighten's service is at 1 p.m. Monday at the Spokane Convention Center. -------------- I also discovered an inspiring aspect t to the story about Christina Alford, a homeless woman who is in the Bruce Transitional Housing program. Pastor Thom Nees, who runs Missio Dei Church that rents space in our former press room, emailed me this week that Alford was browsing through garage sale items a week ago Saturday when that tumultuous rainstorm hit. She and a friend wasted no time in helping carry goods for sale under cover to help out, Nees reported.
At the time I interviewed her, Alford and others talked about wanting to give back to the community. Helping out someone in need shows it was more than just talk. It also challenges the popular myth that people like Alford who are struggling are "takers" and not "contributors." s