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. She is a member of YMOW’s Executive and Finance and Governance Committees.
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.
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.
Christine Laing brings a varied background to her position as a member of the YMOW Board of Directors, a position she has held since 2015.
Christine worked as a software engineer until 2012, when she earned her master’s degree in physics from the University of Michigan. Laing then went on to become a CPA, earning a master’s degree in accounting from Eastern Michigan University.
She is now putting that degree to work as finance manager at the People’s Food Co-op of Ann Arbor, as well as on the YMOW Finance and Governance Committee.
Christine’s work at the Co-op, as well as at YMOW, revolves around her strongly held belief that no one should go hungry.
“YMOW is a proven program. It saves money on medical care and improves the lives of our families and neighbors. It makes a difference to a lot of people,” Laing said.
Christine lives in downtown Ann Arbor and enjoys going to the gym and live theater.
Lou Maskill, attorney with the Michigan Advocacy Program, joined the YMOW Board of Directors in February 2019.
Lou is a lifelong resident of Ypsilanti and a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. Since earning her Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State Law School, Lou has worked as a legal aid attorney, offering free legal services to low-income individuals and seniors. She offers help pertaining to housing law, family law, public benefits and consumer issues.
Lou said YMOW fits perfectly with her commitment to Ypsilanti’s aging population.
“My current practice focuses on elder law and the legal issues that are unique to this population, many of whom are homebound and disabled,” she said. “I am passionate about serving the residents of Washtenaw County. YMOW’s mission is a great fit!”
Through her role with YMOW Lou said she hopes to expand the reach of the Michigan Advocacy Program to YMOW clients in need of its services.
Lou shares her Ypsilanti home with her wife, their daughter and a dog named Waylon.
Larry Aeilts comes to the YMOW board with decades of experience working within the Ypsilanti community. The former Dean of Students at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) spent more than 20 years with the institution before retiring in 2019.
Larry’s retirement plans included volunteering but were postponed due to the COVID pandemic. He joined the YMOW board in November 2022, eager to give his time and energy to the organization. Larry stated he wants to be part of the solution as the need for support of the community’s aging population continues to grow.
“Alleviating food insecurity is important. YMOW serves a great need in our community,” Larry said.
That’s something he witnessed firsthand as he saw his neighbor benefit from the work of YMOW. In fact, his own father received food and support from his local Meals on Wheels program.
Larry holds degrees in finance and management from Walsh College and Cleary College, respectively. At WCC, he was a member of the Care Team and the Student Emergency Fund Committee. Larry also previously served as an alternative member of the Ypsilanti Zoning Board of Appeals and on the city’s Board of Ethics. He and his wife have resided in the City of Ypsilanti since 2005.
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.
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.
Dr. Susan Gregory is the retired Director of the School of Technology and Professional Services Management in EMU’s College of Technology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing education and a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism from University of Wisconsin and earned her doctorate of education, as well as a degree in recreation and leisure management, from Temple University in Philadelphia.
Susan has served as program coordinator of the Hotel and Restaurant Management Program at EMU and is a past restaurant owner.
Susan’s service on the YMOW board and Events and Fundraising Committee is her way of giving back to the community where she lives and works.
“I understand the value of living in a caring community. YMOW contributes to that,” she said.
Susan said she is proud of YMOW’s work to help people stay safe and healthy in their own homes.
“If not for the grace of God, so go I,” Susan said. “Not everyone has a support system and YMOW allows seniors to be as independent as possible.”
A resident of Normal Park, Susan is an active member of First United Methodist Church of Ypsilanti, where she works in the “Small World Shop” selling fair trade products. The shop provides farmers and artisans from around the world the ability to provide for their families and communities.
Prior to joining the YMOW board in April 2021, Adam Karibian enjoyed delivering meals as part of the Toyota volunteer team. As a volunteer Adam said he saw firsthand the need for Meals on Wheels and the impact that the simple act of delivering a meal had on his homebound neighbors.
In his role as a member of the YMOW board, Adam said he hopes to strengthen and expand the organization’s already healthy relationship with Toyota while fulfilling the company’s mission to foster mobility in the community.
“There’s quite a bit of opportunity to build that connection,” Adam said, both locally and on a national level.
Meanwhile, he plans to continue delivering meals, and encouraging colleagues to do so, too.
A member of the Toyota team since 1993, Adam is Vice President of Technical Strategy & Planning Office at Toyota Motor North America Research & Development. He holds a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering as well as a master of business administration degree, both from the University of Michigan.
Adam is the executive sponsor for the Toyota Organization for the Development of Latinos and a longtime volunteer for several Washtenaw County non-profits. He also is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers. He also serves on YMOW’s finance committee.
Outside of work, Adam enjoys mountain biking, ice hockey and being outdoors. An Ann Arbor resident, he and his wife, Kimmy, have two children and two dogs.
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.
Having just retired from a career in human resources, Tim Kowaleski was eager to spend time serving his community when he turned to Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels.
“Delivering food to people who need it is a pretty good organization,” he said.
A donor for several years prior to joining the board in early 2022, Tim was familiar with the work YMOW did to provide food for its homebound neighbors. He was pleasantly surprised to learn of the many other support services, and just what YMOW means by “more than a meal.”
What impresses him most is the personal attention given to each client by the office staff and client care associates. As a board member, he hopes to encourage the continued satisfaction of clients and the expansion of services that allow them to experience wholeness and wellness beyond food.
Tim and husband Richard live in Ypsilanti with their two shelter dogs, Archie and Billy. Tim loves gardening and spending time with his three grown children and five grandchildren.
Cyndi Shepard joined the YMOW board of directors in 2020 as a way to get involved in her new home of Ypsilanti. A longtime resident of Ohio, Cyndi and her husband Bill moved to Michigan in 2017.
“I like the mission of the organization, as I have always valued the elderly and looked for ways to help those close to me,” Cyndi said of her choice to join the YMOW team. “Helping to reach out to a community full of people who need help, support and want to feel valued seems like the next step for me!”
A former biochemist and high school science teacher, Cyndi hopes to share her time, ideas and a fresh perspective with YMOW, helping it to become an even stronger, more impactful part of the community.
“YMOW is looking for even more innovative ways to enrich the lives of all of its elderly community members,” Cyndi said.
Cyndi and Bill have three grown children and four grandchildren. Their house, which was part of the 2019 Holiday Home Tour, is also home to their Dalmatians, Rugby and Leia, and their two cats, Cami and Leo.
Tara Truax first joined the YMOW board in October 2020, but her knowledge of our organization and its work in the community spans decades.
“I have been referring my patients and clients to YMOW for over 20 years,” said Tara, who currently works as a Patient Relations Specialist at IHA.
A licensed social worker with a master’s degree in health services administration, Tara is eager to share her knowledge and experience with YMOW and the community.
Tara is passionate about improving systems of care and increasing access to care for vulnerable sectors of the population.
“I hope that joining the YMOW board will allow me to share some of that passion and knowledge to further the organization’s mission,” she said.
Tara is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She fuels her fondness for fungi as a member of the Michigan Mushroom Hunter’s Club and supports several local and regional charitable organizations.
A native of northern Michigan, Tara has lived in Ypsilanti since 1995 and shares her home with her cat, Phoebe Levan.