The Norman Transcript

February 17, 2013

Virtue was a pioneer in treatment field

By Chris Jones
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Dick Virtue, 1921 to 2008, was known throughout Oklahoma, and recognized nationally for his work in the area of drug and alcohol treatment. He was a pioneer in the field of treatment for addiction, and his motto of “Help and Hope” stands today as the cornerstone of Norman Addiction Information & Counseling (NAIC).

Virtue’s vision for the motto to become a reality began with a $7,500 grant in 1972, from the United Thank Offering of the National Episcopal Church Women, and pledges from Norman residents.

The seed money provided a beginning for the first private nonprofit, out patient alcohol and drug treatment center in the state.

NAIC opened with the use of a small room at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and a part time secretary.

Since that early beginning there were many milestones in the steps to provide education and treatment for citizens ranging from students, employees and prisoners.

In 1973, Virtue was ordained to the priesthood at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norman.

His desire to listen to those in need didn’t stop at the end of the workday, as Father Virtue operated a 24-hour hotline in his home for more than 30 years.

In 1991, Episcopal Bishop Robert Moody said during an award ceremony, “that thousands of lives had been touched by Virtue’s ministry at NAIC.”

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