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Lester Stein - He puts head for numbers to good use

April 23, 2006|By ROBERT SNYDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Three years ago, the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Boys and Girls Club was mired in a financial mess when Lester Stein was asked to help the club get its books in order.

With a head for numbers and a reluctance to turn down a request for help, Stein, who is employed as the business manager at the Country Day School in Kearneysville, W.Va., agreed to step in.

"I have trouble saying no when someone comes and says, 'Can you do this,'" Stein said.

Former executive director Glenn Stanley was accused of embezzling more than $6,800 from the club to purchase and maintain cars he testified he bought for the organization. He was convicted in Berkeley County Circuit Court on charges of embezzlement and forgery.

Stein worked to overhaul the books and to make the club more accountable to its donors, said the club's current executive director, Stefani Pierson, who was hired to replace Stanley.

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Stein's efforts to restore the financial health of the club won him praise from Pierson.

"I couldn't have done my job without him," she said. "Sometimes, people thank me for what I've done, but I couldn't have done what I did without him. It's hard to put in words everything he's done for us."

It wasn't just the club's finances that were in bad shape. The scandal had given the organization's public image a shiner.

"Any time we opened our mouth to say anything, it was, 'Oh, I've heard of that place,'" Stein said.

Stein said he understood people's reluctance to contribute to the organization.

"Who wants to donate money to an organization that just discovered half their funds just went out the back door?" Stein said.

Stein stayed on and joined the club's board of directors, serving first as its treasurer, and as its secretary since the recent merger of the Morgan, Jefferson and Berkeley county clubs into a single Eastern Panhandle organization.

Stein said he has watched the club grow tremendously in the short time he has been involved with it.

Pierson said the club has grown from 250 members three years ago to about 550 members.

Stein, who also has volunteered for CCAP Loaves and Fishes, credits his grandfather, John Teufel, with engendering in him a commitment to service.

"He gave his life away to people," Stein said.

Among his current projects, he lists an effort to complete a building project at the Country Day School, but it's his work to help the boys club that he says he is most proud of.

"It gives you a good feeling to see that something's working right," he said.

Q&A

Name - Lester Stein

Address - Hedgesville, W.Va.

Date of birth - July 11, 1951

Occupation - Business manager at the Country Day School in Kearneysville, W.Va.

Most notable achievement - Restoring the financial affairs of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Boys and Girls Club

Your proudest moment - Coming through with a clean audit.

Who is the person you most admire and why? - His grandfather, John Teufel. He gave his life to people.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Who gave it to you? - Keep on going no matter what. A previous employer told him that.

What is the next goal you would like to achieve? - To see the completion of a building project at the school.

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