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Peace Corps volunteer from Ashland dies in Paraguay

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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.


  • King Boss Beastland (@1str8guy)

    it’s really stupid to call this news when probably the most important piece of information that everybody would like to know is how this gentleman died. was it the result of an accident, an illness or other? it is frustrating regarding the lack or information regarding this tragedy.

    • ana

      Is his specific cause of death really so important as to validate this article’s tribute to the work he did there while still alive?

  • Cindy

    It is a sad story, however, the man did some wonderful things during his short years on Earth. He used his education, skills and talents to help others. God Bless his family!

  • John Jackman

    I am writing this while speaking to my daughter who is serving in Uganda. While she did not know him, there is a strong sense of community among all volunteers. Our family sends our prayers, and thanks to this family during their time of grief.

  • AP

    My sister is in Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer now and the community there is mourning this terrible loss. My thoughts are with Porter’s family and friends. I cannot imagine what they must be experiencing and hope they find support in knowing how many people are sending warm thoughts their way.

  • Bill

    I was reading a Paraguay website called das wochenblatt. They said he passed away due to a asthma attack. Apparently the local hospital didn’t have oxygen, was sent to another hospital but passed away in route

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