From the outside, Arvonia, Virginia, didn't look like much. Just a small rural town in the backwater of the Old Dominion State. But it was there, in the late 60s, not long after a storm blew through and deluged the shacks and hillsides with an unprecedented torrent, that Dr. Lester Pittle found his passion ignited. There, he forged his commitment to community medicine.
These days, however, he works as a physician at Pike Market Medical Clinic. Located at 1930 Post Alley, the clinic serves any resident in the area in need of health care, medical insurance be damned. And so, in a back office off the downstairs lobby, Dr. Pittle, 62, listens and counsels, as he tends to patients -- the elderly diabetic, the woman with a recent diagnosis of HIV, the man battling hepatitis C made harder to treat due to his mental health struggles -- and offers guidance on how they can help to heal themselves.
Or, he used to. Up until July 2, Pittle worked at the downtown clinic as a physician. His recent departure marked the end of a 28-year tenure. And even though weeks have passed since he's tended to those in search of healing, it's still hard for people --