After 15 years with Reston Interfaith, Pam Dunn is leaving.
Dunn, director of development with the non-profit organization, is moving to Florida with her husband. Kerrie Wilson, executive director of Reston Interfaith, said Dunn will be hard to replace.
"Pam is one of those people, she is Reston Interfaith," Wilson said. "Over the years she has been, for Reston Interfaith, that one person who has been able to tell our story in any setting."
Dunn started as the volunteer coordinator at Interfaith's Embry Rucker Community Shelter. She stayed at the shelter for almost 11 years, where eventually she moved into the assistant director spot. She handled some fundraising events at the shelter and, four years ago, she moved to her current position.
Interfaith, which is supported by 20 Reston churches, provides food, shelter and clothing to families throughout the community. As director of development Dunn raises funds and organizes Interfaith's annual fundraising events.
"[DUNN] IS AS down-to-earth and kind and friendly to one of our clients as she is to a corporate CEO," said Susann Gerstein, former president of the Interfaith Board of Directors.
Gerstein recalled one day, when she was walking with Dunn in the parking lot of the Spectrum Shopping Center: "A former client, from the shelter, came up to us and said, 'Ms. Pam, Ms. Pam, let me tell you what I'm doing now.' Pam was so proud. And then, not two minutes later, as we were walking to our meeting we were stopped by a corporate executive, one of our sponsors. He said the same thing, 'Hey, Pam,' and her demeanor never changed."
Dunn said she often runs into former residents of the shelter, and enjoys hearing their success stories. She remembered one woman who came to the shelter with three children, fleeing an abusive husband. The woman had been studying to obtain her G.E.D., but her husband would not give her the $10 necessary to take the test. While in the shelter she took the test, passed it, and eventually became a school bus driver.
"She made a statement, she said, 'No one can ever tell me I can't do anything again,'" Dunn said
RESTON INTERFAITH will hold a going-away party for Dunn on Wednesday night, at the offices of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Dunn said it will be difficult to keep from crying.
"I'll miss the people," Dunn said. "I'm going to try and hold myself together. But I will shed some tears."
Wilson said it will be difficult to fill Dunn's shoes, but that she will be looking for someone with "incredible fundraising skills and knowledge of the community."
Cindy Jenkins, special events manager with Reston Interfaith, said the office won't be quite as fun once Dunn is gone.
"For a very small person she has a lot of energy and a big heart," Jenkins said. "She's been very supportive, not only as a boss, but as a friend."
Dunn said she will she will not become a stranger to her friends in the community. She will come back periodically to visit her son, who lives in Reston. And even though she is sad to go, Dunn said she is excited to be moving to Florida.
"We have a boat, we like the water and we like the sun," she said. "We don't like the winter — the snow and ice. We moved here from Atlanta, and when I saw 10 snowflakes, I thought that was a blizzard."