Peace Corps volunteer from Ashland dies in Paraguay

Posted at 11:12 AM, Mar 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-31 12:36:04-04

WASHINGTON (WTVR) — A 28-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Ashland died in Paraguay last week.

Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet confirmed Porter Knight died in Paraguay on Tuesday, March 25.

“We do not have a cause of death at this time; however, according to local authorities, no foul play is suspected,” Peace Corps officials told CBS 6.

Knight, who is survived by his parents, Mary and Jon Knight, entered service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay on Sept. 26, 2012.

Knight graduated from Ferrum College and earned his master’s degree in environmental science and engineering from Virginia Tech.

Porter Knight

Peace Corps Paraguay staff described Porter Knight as “very well-regarded as a true professional and well-respected in the community.”

Knight served as an environment conservation project volunteer in the rural community of “3 de Noviembre,” in Guaira where he led conservation and sustainability projects that promoted renewable fuels, improved crop production, gardening and composting, according to a news release from the  Peace Corps.

“Porter’s lifelong commitment to protecting our precious natural resources made him an extraordinary Peace Corps volunteer,” Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “He was generous and open in sharing his expertise with friends and colleagues in his community of service.”

The Peace Corps shared a portion of Knight’s application letter, which spells out his eagerness to serve in Paraguay.

“Throughout my life, I have been eager to learn and open to new ideas that may help with environmental problems,” Knight wrote in the application. “During my service, I will use what I have learned to help the Paraguayans the best I can. I also hope to learn a lot from them.”

Knight’s commitment to protecting the environment began before his Peace Corps service. In fact, he worked as a natural resources specialist at the Virginia Department of Forestry and volunteered to fight wildfires in the Commonwealth.

Knight was remembered as an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting, hiking and woodworking.