Knight returns to work following heart attack

COVINGTON - City Manager Leigh Anne Knight has returned to work two weeks after suffering a heart attack.

Knight attended the City Council meeting Monday night with her husband Scott and daughter Meghann in the audience. She returned to the office at noon Monday.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston welcomed Knight back and she received a round of applause at the beginning of the meeting. Johnston joked that he had a resolution ready prohibiting vacation for her during the rest of her tenure. “No more Florida, no more trips,” he said.

Knight’s heart attack occurred while she was on vacation in Panama City, Fla. She was hospitalized there for about a week before returning to Covington. Tests revealed multiple blood clots in Knight’s heart. Knight has since been diagnosed with a blood disorder that she said should be treatable with medication.

“I do want to point out one thing that I noticed and it’s one of the things that I absolutely have fallen in love with about this city, is that in a time of crisis or concern, the city really pulls together and it’s just an awesome thing to be a part of and witness, and I know all those prayers made a difference and brought her back here,” Johnston said. He thanked Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon for doing a “phenomenal job” in Knight’s absence.

Knight thanked everyone for their calls and prayers.

“It has been very comforting to know that so many people were praying for me and concerned for me during this time,” she said. “I am back, feeling much, much better,” she said, adding that she has some additional medical tests to complete.

Knight also thanked Bouchillon.

“He stepped in last week and, as the mayor said, ran things seamlessly, very smoothly, and I am very appreciative of that and his willingness to do that and to step up to the plate,” she said.

“I have said all along that it takes everybody to run the city and it absolutely does,” she continued. “There is no way that any one person can do it, myself, Billy, nobody. It takes everybody to do it and everyone has stepped up to the plate the last couple of weeks and particularly for Independence in the Park.

“I had every intention of being back here Saturday night to watch those fireworks and thanks to some very special friends, I got a few text message photos of them, but I didn’t make it back,” she added. “But I have heard nothing but absolutely wonderful things about the employees who were responsible for working … they did a superb job.”

Earlier in the meeting, Johnston recognized Porterdale resident Robert Foxworth, who raised nearly $9,000 in donations from businesses and residents for the fireworks show.

In addition, city agreed to pay $7,500 for the fireworks.

“I was standing with people and I looked around and was hugging people and people had tears in their eyes and everything. It was an American event. It was great and you had a huge part to do with it and I wanted just to thank you,” Johnston said.

Foxworth responded that, “What I have planned for next year is going to blow this year away.”