The legacy of Dr. Lee Vincent
The last time I talked with Dr. Lee Vincent was about two weeks before our annual fundraising breakfast. His voice sounded thin and frail, and I was worried. But as it so often did, his spirit reassured me. He told me that he intended to come to our March 22 event, and that he had hopes of attending a Youth Eastside Services (YES) alumni event that we’re hoping to schedule later this year. As always, his commitment to our organization was unwavering, even in light of his illness.
But the morning of March 20, I got a call from Dr. Glenn Lux, a colleague of Dr. Vincent’s at Allegro Pediatrics. My heart sank. As I answered the phone, I knew what was coming: Dr. Vincent had passed away.
How can I describe how vital this man was to our organization? It’s because of him and other concerned community members that YES exists. Dr. Vincent’s care for young people was so deep that he and others wanted to create a place just for them: One where they could feel supported, get help, and build lasting connections with both caring adults and their peers. That place, created in cooperation with Dr. Phil Nudelman and concerned citizens, was a drop-in teen center called Heads Up. That was the beginning of the organization that would eventually become YES.
Since that time in 1968, Dr. Vincent has never stepped away from our organization. Up until recently, when he became ill, I would meet with him periodically over coffee or lunch to get advice on how to best work with pediatric primary care practitioners to support them in addressing behavioral health concerns, and to discuss where YES was headed.
Even after he passed, Dr. Vincent still wasn’t done giving back: Hours after I got the phone call, we received a donation that he made before he passed away. And his family requested that in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to YES in his memory.
It’s hard to put into words how much this wonderful man will be missed. He was a treasure, both to those who knew him, and to those who have been impacted by his work: the thousands of children, teens and families our organization supports every year.
When I announced Dr. Vincent’s passing at our breakfast, there was a gasp from the room. Clearly, this was a man who was deeply loved, and his legacy will continue to touch the lives of children and families for generations to come.