Selected for their diverse backgrounds—as well as professional expertise—the following individuals sit on the GWAAR Advisory Council. The Advisory Council’s role is to advise the Board of Directors on the area plan, be engaged in advocacy activities, and be motivated in making a difference in how the aging network responds to the needs of an increasingly older population.
Barbara Robinson (Chairperson) Green Bay: Barbara originally from Antonino, Kansas, came to Wisconsin in 1973 after a 3-year assignment in the Peace Corps. She started the Elderly Nutrition Program in Oconto County in Feb. 1974. In Nov. 1976 she moved to Madison to work for the Wisconsin Dept. of Health & Social Services/Bureau of Aging & Disability Resources (BADR) and worked with nutrition programs, Area Agencies on Aging, intergenerational programs, and senior centers. Barbara & husband Greg bought the Astor House Bed & Breakfast in Aug. 1999. She retired from BADR in 2010 and now runs the B&B full time and stays involved in advocacy.
Robert Wilkinson (Vice-Chairperson), Janesville: Rob is a veteran and retired police officer. He has volunteered for a number of organizations and has also served on both GWAAR’s Board and Advisory Council. He also participates in WI Aging Advocacy Network meetings and advocacy activities.
Seymour Adler, Twin Lakes: Bio coming soon.
Jane Deau, Merrill: Bio coming soon.
Beth Esser, Spooner: Beth is a retired nurse and volunteers for several organizations in her community. She enjoys hunting and fishing—as well as quilting and enjoys time spent with her grandchildren.
Nancy Gagnon, Middleton: Nancy is a lawyer who served many years as an administrative law judge and has served on a local school board and union board. Nancy joined the Advisory Council mid-2017.
Kathy Gauger, Whitehall: Kathy has been a resident of Whitehall for 40 years. She began employment with the Trempealeau County Department of Human Services in 1983. She was also part of a team that wrote a grant to allow Trempealeau County to pilot an ADRC in 1998. Kathy retired January 2017 as supervisor of the ADRC.
Stan Hensley, Menomonie: Stan has been married to his wife Mary for 45 years. He served on many elected and appointed committees and boards from local, county, state, and federal agencies. He is now helping facilitate dementia support groups and is a 10-year member of the ADRC caregiver conference that now brings in national speakers on dementia. Both his parents died of dementia-related complications. He works very hard to help rural caregivers with their very different caregiving problems.
Marie Lewis, Tomah: Prior to retirement, Marie worked for the Tomah Veterans Administration and also the Ho-Chunk Nation, including several years as the tribal aging unit director. Marie recently joined the Ho-Chunk Nation Clan Mothers and enjoys traveling and volunteering in her community.
Dave Lowe, Janesville: Dave is recognized throughout the aging network for his many years of public service to transportation system development. Now working as an independent consultant, Dave continues to advocate for specialized transit systems to serve the elderly and adults with disabilities.
Stephanie Melnick, Mequon: Stephanie is an attorney, practicing for over 20 years in the areas of business law and litigation and investment fraud. She has represented older adult victims of financial fraud and is interested in educating the public about fraud detection and prevention. She is chairperson of the State Bar of Wisconsin Public Education Committee, K-12 Subcommittee, and member of the North Shore Senior Resource Network and Caregiver Connection of Ozaukee County.