Tribute to a Colleague and a Friend

If we could sum up Lenny Taliaferro in one word, it would be grace. The Virginia Center for Addiction Medicine, and the world, lost a beautiful friend when Lenny passed away last week. He was humble, he was grateful, and he always managed to lift up everyone he met. More than anything, he loved recovery.

We first met Lenny when he called to ask if he could do an internship for his education program at VCAM. Even though the internship was not to start for another 6 months, Lenny wanted to work with VCAM right away and wanted to volunteer. His generous offer was straightforward—he was willing to do anything to help others. “I just want to help you guys out. I’ll move chairs, whatever you need,” he relayed to Bari Cohen, our director of Medical Services and Care Coordination. 

When Lenny arrived for his first interview, he spoke passionately about his experiences and most of all the power of recovery. He quickly began volunteering atVCAM and was immediately a part of our family. As he promised, Lenny moved chairs, he did paperwork, he made photocopies, and he put together binders for patients in groups. But Lenny did much more than that—he passed along his quiet strength to others. After completing a formal internship for his CSAC-A, Lenny continued working “officially” and facilitated countless group therapy sessions where he quickly became a favorite for his calming spirit and unwavering commitment. 

Lenny taught us that no matter how hard life can be, we can learn from it, grow from it, and live each day to the best of our ability. He walked the walk and was an example of gratitude in action by always doing whatever he could to make things better for others. We are grateful to you, Lenny, and we thank you. You will be missed.

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