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A Matter of Trust

New United Way director wants to raise $1 million.

Stanley David "Dave" Tong means business when he says he will help raise $1 million for the 2003-04 United Way campaign.

"I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to do it," said the new regional director of the Loudoun United Way.

Tong, a business owner and community volunteer, took over the non-profit organization on April 9 when Gray Wells stepped down. Wells, United Way director since 1997, agreed to volunteer until June to help Tong get started before she leaves for Huntsville, Ala., where her husband has taken a job with NASA. Wells led the 2002-03 campaign that ends in May and helped raise $415,000. Tong wants to at least double that amount, admitting that he has not yet been assigned a goal.

"The United Way really needs help, and the community needs to rally around the United Way," Tong said, adding that several United Way agencies depend on the funding they receive from the organization's annual campaigns. In Loudoun County, the United Way supports more than 30 agencies.

"United Way has had some blemishes, but that's all in the past," Tong said referring to the 2002 problems of the United Way of the National Capital Area. "United Way was tarnished by one to two people. ... If you hurt the United Way, you hurt so many agencies."

UNITED WAY gives 90 percent of the funds it raises to participating agencies and keeps 10 percent for administrative costs. "United Way doesn't take money and put it in its pockets," Tong said. "United Way is not making money on this. It's making money for other organizations."

Tong plans to organize a campaign cabinet tasked with, among other duties, setting a goal and campaign slogan for the 2003-04 campaign that kicks off July 1. "We're going to help people [and] bring pride back into the communities and pride about the United Way," he said.

Tong, who grew up in Northern Virginia and now lives in Ashburn, owns and operates Premier Technical Services, which he started in 1989.

"Dave is looked up to by so many in leadership in our area as a person who can be implicitly trusted and as one who will get the job done and done correctly," said Linda Thompson, public relations and events coordinator for the Salvation Army of Loudoun County, where Tong has served on the advisory board for more than three years. "Dave, who is a beyond-the-call type of person, has demonstrated time after time his ability to be adaptable in even the most tedious of situations. He performs these sometimes arduous tasks, not only with his excellent managerial and organizational skills, but also with a keen sense of humor which he employs at just the right time to turn a project from one of drudgery to one filled with fun and enjoyment."

TONG VOLUNTEERS for several organizations, including Elks Club of Loudoun, the Holiday Coalition and Christmas in April. He is a member of the advisory board for the Salvation Army of Loudoun County, president of Loudoun Volunteer Services, vice-president of Leadership Loudoun and a board member for the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. He also is Vietnam War veteran and served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam.

"On a personal note, I will be sad should it be necessary for Dave to vacate his vice-chairman leadership position on the advisory board of the Salvation Army of Loudoun County," Thompson said. "His kind and courteous presence, his management abilities, his keen discernment, his leadership in ensuring task completion, his great sense of humor, and his willingness to always help in whatever manner is requested of him will be sorely missed. ... I am confident that he will excel in whatever he chooses as his life's work."