WBAL on death of manager

  • BALTIMORE —An executive at east Baltimore’s Turning Point Clinic is missing after a dive off the coast of Indonesia last week, and his co-workers are planning a memorial service in his honor.
  • Thapana Tee Thiracharoenpanya

Turning Point Clinic

  • Thapana “Tee” Thiracharoenpanya, 28, disappeared April 17 during a diving trip with three friends in Indonesia when he didn’t resurface after the group got stuck in strong currents, according to the substance abuse clinic.
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  • Turning Point said Thiracharoenpanya was last seen signaling that his oxygen was running out as they were struggling to reach the surface.
  • “In Tee’s fashion, he untethered himself to try to get help, and that was the last that they saw of Tee,” said the Rev. Milton Williams, the chief executive officer of Turning Point.
  • His diving partners made it to the surface and were picked up by a dive boat, but Thiracharoenpanya was not with them.
  • “That’s Tee. That’s exactly how he would have handled the situation, and in his efforts, he lost his life trying to save others. It’s a very, very sad time for us,” Williams said.
  • Crews began to search the shoreline of nearby Komodo Island for his body, but so far, he hasn’t been found and is presumed dead.
  • Thiracharoenpanya joined Turning Point’s finance department three years ago and was to be promoted to vice president upon his return.
  • Williams said diving was Thiracharoenpanya’s passion, and he took diving trips all over the world.  He was born and raised in Thailand and left his family there to work at the Baltimore clinic and serve thousands of patients.
  • “Tee has to be considered the salt of the Earth. Tee brought to us something so special,” Williams said. “He was one of the kindest, most thoughtful, compassionate young men I ever met in my life.”
  • The CEO said the pain of accepting that the search is now a recovery effort has devastated his co-workers, who are now planning a memorial service for him at 11 a.m. Thursday. Williams said his employees plan to plant a tree from Thailand in front of the building to honor their co-worker.
  • “It was a shock to all of us. I wish the world was filled with people just like Tee,” he said.
  • Williams called Turning Point the largest methadone maintenance clinic in the world that serves addicts.