Legacy

Michael O’Brien (left), executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, presents a check to Phyllis Danley, executive director of the East Central University Foundation, toward the Virgil Taylor Scholarship. Also pictured is ECU President John Hargrave.

The Ada News

 

The late Virgil Taylor made an impression on Michael O’Brien as a friend and colleague.

Now O’Brien, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, makes sure that Taylor’s legacy is being carried on through East Central University’s Virgil Taylor Scholarship, which has grown to $15,000.

The centennial-level scholarship, which must have a minimum endowment of $15,000, was established in 2009 during ECU’s centennial year. The Taylor scholarship was also established that same year and was designed to assist bachelor-level students in pursuing careers in vocational rehabilitation counseling. It has reached the centennial level in three short years thanks to donations from friend, family and the annual Virgil Taylor Golf Tournament.

Taylor earned his bachelor’s degree from ECU in 1970 and his master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Oklahoma State University in 1975.

His mission in life was the help prepare and equip persons with disabilities to re-enter the job market in positions that would enhance their lifestyles. Those who knew him claimed emphatically that his mission was accomplished. Along the way, his cumulative training and experiences brought him respect from colleagues across the state.

Taylor earned lifetime achievement awards with both the Division of Visual Services and the regular Division of Rehabilitations of the Department with a career spanning 33 years.

His final battle with cancer ended March 27, 2008.

“Virgil Taylor was a long-time DRS supervisor and counselor who embraced the rehabilitation philosophy and dedicated his life to helping people with disabilities go to work,” O’Brien said.

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