Here are the bios of our current Board of Directors for A Touch of Understanding.
Michael Wilson~ President
Michael currently serves as president of the board of directors of ATOU. An active participant in sports of all kinds, he has also been involved in coaching with the Eureka Youth Soccer Club and Lakeside Little League for the past 12 years.
Michael is a Project Geologist with Espana Geotechnical Consulting (EGC) in Roseville, California where he has spent the last 13 years plying his trade in the field of Geotechnical Engineering. Prior to his current position he spent 8 years working in a similar capacity with Herbst Benson Associates in Baltimore, Maryland.
Michael enjoys the variety of projects he has participated on in the last 20+ years, which run the gamut from high rise office structures and major highway interchange projects to remote dams and unique single-family residences. Michael stresses his firm’s motto of “On-time Quality” in every project he undertakes, realizing that the secret to maintaining good client relationships is to provide a quality product in a timely fashion.
Michael has been a member of the Rotary Club of Granite Bay since 1992 and has enjoyed the opportunity to “give back” to the community. Michael was privileged to serve as club president during the 1996-97 year and is currently working as chairman of the club’s annual crab feed. Michael is also proud to be the president of the Board of Directors for A Touch of Understanding (ATOU), a non-profit disability awareness organization whose mission is “To encourage acceptance and respect for all individuals and to minimize discrimination and misunderstanding experienced by people with disabilities”.
When not shuttling between their three boys’ various events, Michael and his wife Barbara enjoy traveling and spending time with friends.
John DeLury ~ Vice President
John DeLury’s professional background is in finance and administrative management for both public and private organizations. His professional career has spanned over 45 years. He received his B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and his MBA from University of Utah.
He first became acquainted with A Touch of Understanding (ATOU) eleven years ago when he heard a presentation from Leslie and her father at a private foundation meeting. John said he felt an immediate connection to the mission of ATOU having had a younger sister born with cerebral palsy. John mentioned his affection for ATOU and its incredible staff and volunteers grew over the years and upon his retirement in 2011 he offered his services in whatever capacity would be most beneficial to the organization. Joining the Board and participating in ATOU events has become a significant part of his life in retirement. John says, “working in support of ATOU is a blessing for me and for my wife, Jane. We are grateful to be part of such a great team.”
Stanford Hirata ~ Tresurer
Stanford lives in Roseville and is married with two wonderful boys. Professionally, Stanford is a financial advisor and has owned his own practice managing long-term investment assets and creating customized financial strategies for clients since 1994. Stanford is also an Adjunct Professor of Business at Sierra College since 1998.
In addition to serving on the Board as Treasurer of A Touch of Understanding, Stanford formerly served as Trustee on the Placer County Board of Education. He also served on the Roseville City School District Board of Education and continues to serve on the Roseville City School District Foundation, where he is serving his fourth term as President.
In the community, Stanford recently completed a nine year service to the Roseville Grants Advisory Commission, while serving two years as the Commission’s Chair. In addition, Stanford has coached his boys’ baseball teams at Woodcreek Little League for seven years.
Stanford’s involvement with ATOU is based on his passion for education and his strong belief in the mission, people and values of A Touch of Understanding.
Bob Schultz ~ Secretary
Bob Schultz currently serves as an instructor at Brandman University in Roseville and as a writer and consultant for the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Bob spent 17 years teaching and 19 years as an administrator in public schools across California, including 10 years in the Eureka Union School District where he retired as Superintendent in 2008.
Bob is a freelance writer with over 350 articles published in local and national magazines, newspapers and books. He also reviews books for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).
Bob is married with five adult children and four grandchildren. He and his wife, Betty Lou, have lived in Davis since 1994. Bob and Betty Lou are both elders at Davis Community Church.
Bob has been a supporter of A Touch of Understanding since attending his first ATOU presentation at Greenhills School in 1998. He has served on the Board of Directors since 2010.
Kody Fernandez is currently a law enforcement officer with the State of California. He has also held positions within the private, public and non-profit sector. He earned A.A. degrees from American River College in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. He also earned his B.S. degree from California State University, Sacramento in Recreation Administration with a concentration in Recreation and Park Management and a focus in Community Recreation Management.
Kody has been involved with A Touch of Understanding (ATOU) since 2010. His involvement with ATOU began with his time as an intern where he needed to complete his service learning requirement for his degree. After completing that requirement he became a regular, consistent, weekly volunteer. He would later become a staff member working as the Volunteer Coordinator. Kody moved on, after attaining a position with the State of California. He would soon return as an intern to complete the internship requirement for his bachelors’ degree. After receiving his B.S. degree Fernandez wanted to be more involved in the organization that has helped him grow both personally and professionally. In 2016 Kody joined the Board of Directors and is now even more involved with ATOU.
When Susie Glover retired from the United States Postal Service in 2004, she didn’t know what to do with herself. She had worked hard for the past 35 years, finishing out a career with the Postal Service in a senior-level public relations position. Besides her family and close friends, work was Susie’s top priority.
But the same ambition and work ethics that helped Susie climb the ranks of the Postal Service soon kicked in, and she found a new purpose. She joined the Granite Bay Rotary Club and got involved with A Touch of Understanding.
Susie has utilized her public relation skills to promote ATOU and has worked on several fund raisers. Her passion is with the children and the volunteers she works with. Susie is looking forward to watching the program grow as it has in the past two years. “I am busier now that I’m retired,” she says. “But being with these amazing volunteers is such fulfilling work. Success is about being fulfilled in life. I don’t think there is any greater feeling than looking back on your life knowing that you made a positive difference on others.”
Darlene O’Brien lost the sight in her right eye at age 11 and in 1999 at age 35 she lost the sight in her left eye. As a Board member, workshop speaker, advocate and a person with a disability, Darlene inspires those around her to reach a common goal. She is a woman who has overcome adversity – both on a daily basis and throughout her life. She has experienced single motherhood, illness, injury due to her blindness from falls to smashed fingers and broken ribs. Through it all, she remains positive and her strength shines through. She is a master communicator who captures and holds her audience’s attention, whether they are 8 years old or 98 years old.
Darlene is a self-starter with a “can do” attitude. In 1999, when Darlene became blind, she contacted the Society for the Blind and asked for career help, she found there was nothing, so she wrote a grant to help individuals with basic job skills. She also has her own company, BLIND AMBITION, which offers a Disability Etiquette Training Program for public and private agencies.
In 2000, Darlene began volunteering as a speaker with A Touch of Understanding (ATOU) in its school disability-awareness program. Darlene shares her story with school children emphasizing that it is okay to be different and that we are all the same on the inside. Darlene is an advocate for all people with disabilities. She joined ATOU because she wanted to make a difference. Her heart goes out to children with disabilities, who are often bullied because they are different.
For the past 13 years, Darlene has been the lead volunteer moderator and mentor for the “ATOU Volunteer Speaker Program.” Since joining ATOU, Darlene has trained about 50 volunteer speakers, and given 65,000 hours of volunteer time. She has been a Board member since 2011.