Interim Executive Director
Al Oliver is a Southern California native was educated at Cerritos College and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). After a brief stint in the National Football League, Al graduated from Talbot Theological Seminary in 1980 with a Master of Divinity in Bible exposition. From there, he served as a teacher, counselor and teaching pastor for a number of years until he and his wife were both diagnosed with cancer.
After a difficult encounter with their cancer surgeries, the Oliver family left the professional ministry in 1989 for a season of healing and recovery. Al then worked in his family’s construction materials business and was eventually promoted to President and CEO. He later returned to pastoral ministry serving as a Transitional Pastor for churches belonging to the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), and worked with four EFCA churches in nearly 13 years. Most recently, Al served as Transitional Pastor at Hillside Community Church in Porterville. Al has been married to his wife, Verla for 40 years. They have two children (Matthew and Amber) and four grandchildren. In his free time, Al enjoys salt-water fishing (especially in the Sea of Cortez).
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Mark Shelton is Vice President, Visalia Center Manager of Citizens Business Bank and has been in the banking industry for over 30 years. He is involved with various organizations and church ministries such as Hume Lake Christian Camps. He has served on the board at the Visalia Rescue Mission for over 9 years and is currently serving as chairman of the board. Mark has been married to his best friend, Diane, for over 34 years. He has spent his life growing in his relationship with Jesus Christ and enjoys being available to his call.
Chief Financial Officer
Bruce graduated from Millikin University in 1976 with bachelor’s degrees in both Accounting and Marketing. He moved to Visalia in 1994. Bruce spent over 28 years in the automotive business as a controller, most recently with the Groppetti Automotive Family. He made the move to nonprofit accounting in 2005 when he joined Turning Point of Central California as their Chief Financial Officer. Bruce served on the VRM’s Board of Directors as Treasurer from 2006 until coming on staff at the Mission as Chief Financial Officer in 2010. He has been married to his wife, Leanne, for 22 years. Bruce enjoys spending time with his children, grandchildren and church family at Abounding Grace Church where he serves as a deacon.
Director of Development
Jessica graduated from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, in 2004 with a bachelor’s in Communication: Public Relations. After college she moved across the country from Iowa to Visalia, CA. Jessica worked at Centex Homes in their Design Studio and Marketing/Sales Dept for three and a half years. In 2008 she was hired by the Visalia Rescue Mission and now resides as the Director of Development for the Mission. She adores her job of connecting the community with the work that the Lord is doing at the Mission and counts it a privilege to work for such an amazing organization.
Jessica enjoys anything involving food, friends, family, socializing and travel. In June 2012 she married Forrest Cavale and they recently had their first child, Finn Michael!
Women's Program Director
I have been employed at the Visalia Rescue Mission as the Women’s Program Director since August 2006 and oversee the women’s facilities and programs. I have a bachelors degree in education and I am CAS certified (Certified Alcoholism and Other Drug Addiction Recovery Specialist). I enjoy working at the mission because I have a passion for helping women overcome addiction and homelessness.
Men's Program Director
Director of Men's Shelter Services
Kurt was born and raised in Visalia, California. He left Visalia to attend Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon and began a street ministry that defines his life today. Kurt has been associate pastor, senior pastor and minister to the homeless since 1977. He is the founder of Church On The Street Atlanta, Georgia where he ran ministry training in homeless ministry to over 10,000 students in Atlanta over a 10 year period. He has developed homeless ministry outreach to 37 cities across the country. He is a published author and public speaker. Kurt returned to Visalia in 2012 to join the Visalia Rescue Mission team in caring for the homeless.
Kurt’s books are available here on PDF file:
Living on Skid Row is a book of true stories that emphasizing God's love and empowerment for the homeless and poor in the darkest crevices of our nation's streets.
Mother’s Hope: A Miracle on Skid Row is a testimony to the power of God and family through a rare experience with Atlanta’s homeless population on Mother’s Day.
Saddle Soar, autobiographical in nature, is a devotional book that chronicles Kurt’s cross country bicycle journey, with proceeds raised for the homeless.
Director of Thrift Store Operations
Hi, my name is Sherri White and I am the Director of Thrift Store Operations for the Mission. I oversee all processes for donation pickups, warehouse production, Rescued Treasures Superstore and the Simply Chic Boutique. The position is unique as it calls for a skill set in both the retail environment as well as the production environment. I feel as though I was divinely appointed to my position for this reason. I immensely enjoy my job and knowing how all the work is ultimately benefitting the people in our community. I remain open to however the Lord wants to continue to use me at the Mission and feel so blessed to be a part of it all!
Oval Venue Coordinator
Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as the Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 5, 3, and 3.
Chelsea is a Visalia native and has 10 years of experience planning events including conferences, weddings and fundraisers. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Biola University and is in her element when doing five things at once. Growing up, she traveled the world with the Celebrant Singers, and has visited 28 countries so far. While she loves seeing the world, she also loves seeing our local community support each other. Knowing she’s a part of real life change makes all the late nights and early mornings worth it. When she’s not managing a million details, Chelsea enjoys getting lost in a good book, heading to the beach and spending time with family and friends (especially when it includes coffee, a great meal or dark chocolate).