A lifelong resident of Ypsilanti, Dieter Otto joined the YMOW Board of Directors in 2016. But his support for the organization began years before.
Dieter’s relationship with YMOW began in the 1980s, when his family’s business, Bob & Otto’s Service in Ypsilanti, began servicing YMOW’s vehicles. That relationship deepened in 2008 when Otto’s father began receiving meals
“YMOW was one of the support organizations that allowed me to take care of my father at home. By serving on the board, I could not have chosen a better way to give back,” said, Dieter, a member of YMOW’s Events and Fundraising Committee. “I have seen the positive impact that YMOW has had on the people of Eastern Washtenaw County. YMOW has a mission I believe in.”
DIeter is currently employed as Director of Custodial, Grounds, Motor Pool, and Waste Management at his alma mater, Eastern Michigan University, where he studied technology and business.
In addition to YMOW, Dieter serves on the board of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority and leads the group’s grants committee. He represents EMU in the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study and is active with the Ypsilanti/Eastern Michigan Town and Gown, which works to foster the relationship between Ypsilanti and EMU, as well as The Forum, a network of local business leaders and representatives of EMU.
Tara Truax first joined the YMOW board in October 2020, but her knowledge of our organization and its work in the community spans decades. With over 20 years of experience as a social worker in and around Washtenaw County, Tara referred clients to YMOW over the years and volunteered for meal delivery several times before becoming a board member.
Tara currently serves as the Patient Relations Specialist at Trinity Health IHA Medical Group, where she is responsible for leading initiatives to support optimal patient and family experience outcomes by investigating and resolving patient and family complaints and grievances, serving as a liaison between patients, providers and administration, and advocating for patient rights for all IHA clinics in Southeast Michigan.
Tara is passionate about improving systems of care and increasing access and improving services for vulnerable sectors of the population, particularly older adults. A licensed social worker with a master’s degree in health services administration, Tara is proud to share her knowledge and experience with YMOW and the community.
Tara is a native of northern Michigan and has lived in Ypsilanti since 1995. She shares her home with her cat, Phoebe.
Steve Smith, chief technology and security officer at Vibe Credit Union in Novi, joined the YMOW board of directors in July 2023. Along with a long history of bringing IT solutions to the businesses with which he has worked, Steve volunteered with several organizations before joining the board at YMOW.
“Housing and food are two very strong needs. It brings me a lot of pride to be able to help with that,” Steve said.
As a board member he hopes to make YMOW fiscally stronger while also helping to grow the volunteer base by recruiting coworkers and friends.
“I really want to be a team player,” Steve said.
Steve became familiar with Ypsilanti as a student at Eastern Michigan University, where he earned a degree in marketing. He loves hockey, football, and cheering on the Detroit Lions, as well as his alma mater. Steve and his wife, Teresa, have three grown children and live in Northville.
Scott Godbold joined the YMOW board of directors in March 2021.
A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Engineering, Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He currently works as a site reliability engineer for Criteo, a French online advertising company with an office in Ann Arbor.
Scott learned of Meals on Wheels from his grandmother, who was involved with the program in her hometown of Owosso, Mich. From a young age Scott heard stories of the program’s impact on peoples’ lives. When his grandmother passed away, Scott made the decision to continue her life of service by getting involved with his own local Meals on Wheels program.
Scott delivered meals for about a year before stepping onto the board.
“The fact that YMOW is able to help provide nutritious meals to our homebound seniors is so important,” Scott said. “But the drivers and volunteers don't just deliver meals. They provide great social interaction for our seniors who may not see many other people very often. This additional level of support is something I never thought about until I started delivering meals and hearing YMOW clients share their stories.”
Scott said he is proud to serve his neighbors in need while honoring the memory and legacy of his grandmother.
Scott lives in Ypsilanti Township with his wife Emily and their cat, Bailey.
Dan Carleton’s storied history includes stints as a lobster fisherman, English teacher and auto parts salesman. He now works as a consultant to the gear industry through his self-owned company, Gear Gear, Inc.
Dan holds a master’s of fine arts degree from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and added YMOW board member to his list of credentials in November 2017.
In addition to his service on the YMOW board, Dan also serves on the Marketing and Communications Committee and volunteers to help deliver meals whenever possible.
“I got involved with YMOW because I have a need to contribute to the people of my adopted community,” Dan said. “I believe in direct human-to-human service. And I get plenty of that delivering meals to the homebound.”
Dan said YMOW delivers life to its neighbors in the form of food and human contact.
Dan also volunteers at Huron Valley Humane Society is a member of the American Gear Manufacturers Association. He is a writer and poet, and enjoys preparing vegan meals.
Dan lives in Ypsilanti with Boewulf, an American Staffordshire Terrier/Great Pyrenees that he rescued from HVHS.
As a member of the YMOW board of directors and the Ambassador Committee, Anna Jackson wants to leverage her position with DTE Gas to help drive the YMOW mission through fundraising and volunteerism.
“I love the mission,” said Anna, who made the final decision to join the YMOW board after joining in on a delivery day.
“I was very impressed with the organization and how it is run,” she said.
Anna’s career has focused on gas and utilities since graduating from Ross School of Business. She currently hold the position of manager at DTE Gas.
Anna shares her southwest Canton home with her husband, Mike, and a spoiled cat named Gizmo. She enjoys golf, reading, and previously served on the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan Board Development Committee.
Brent Kolb, DDS, joined the YMOW board in October 2021.
Brent is a graduate of Miami University and earned his doctorate from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry before completing his residency at University of Michigan. He established Dexter Family Dentistry in 2006 and credits his commitment to community and to giving back for its continued growth and success.
“Giving back to the community is a guiding principle in my life,” said Brent, who is a member of the Dexter Rotary Club. As a member of the YMOW board, Brent hopes to use his expertise as a dentist and business owner to help YMOW serve the Ypsilanti community.
In his free time, Brent enjoys teaching at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, and spending time with wife Liz and their two children, Meghan and Sam.
Francisca Tehoda comes to YMOW with hands-on experience as a caregiver to older adults. A former home health aide, Francisca helped seniors with the physical challenges that often come with aging.
“I saw firsthand how important Meals on Wheels was to them,” Francisca said.
After graduating from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in healthcare administration, Francisca went on to earn a master’s degree from Ohio Dominican University. After several years working in healthcare administration, she now spends her days caring for her daughter. But her senior neighbors have never been far from her mind.
“I have always found a way to give back to seniors in my community,” Francisca said. While growing up in Ghana, Francisca said she was taught to appreciate older adults and their contributions to their families and to society. She’s happy to now do that through her work at YMOW, and as owner of her own home care and housekeeping agency, Auntie’s Angels Home Care Services
Paula Dykstra joined the YMOW Board of Directors shortly after her retirement in 2014. After serving as board treasurer and interim board chair, Paula began a two-year term as board chair in February 2021.
A graduate of Michigan State University, Paula earned her master’s degree in developmental psychology from Purdue and an MBA in finance from EMU. She worked several years for two state bar associations before beginning a 30-year career in enrollment and registration/records for three major universities.
Paula became an advocate for seniors as a member of the Housing Bureau for Seniors board several years before joining YMOW.
“YMOW is vital to the health and well-being of our low-income seniors. We provide a lifeline to many of these people and the need is only growing as the population ages,” said Paula, who said she is grateful for the opportunity to support YMOW’s mission.
A resident of Ypsilanti, Paula also volunteers with the Friends of the Ypsi District library. She is enjoying a new career as an independent travel agent specializing in all-inclusive resorts, cruises and land tours.