GWAAR Board of Directors

Selected for their experience with aging issues and commitment to social activism, the following people sit on the GWAAR Board of Directors:

Robert Borremans, Edgerton: Dr. Robert T. Borremans held many leadership roles in his professional life and as a volunteer, including chief executive officer of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board and administrative leadership experience in the Wisconsin Technical College System. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle appointed him to serve on the Council on Workforce Investment, and he was reappointed by Governor Scott Walker. He is an advocate volunteer for AARP-Wisconsin and serves on the board of the Wisconsin Rural Partner, Inc. Dr. Borremans holds a Doctor of Education degree from Nova-Southeastern University, a Master of Arts degree from Roosevelt University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin - Stout. He is also a military veteran, retired from the United States Navy and Naval Reserve. Read Dr. Borremans full biography here.

Beth Esser, Vice Chair, Spooner: I am a retired Registered Nurse, worked in clinic, hospital, and homecare settings in hands-on and administrative roles. I also served on the Washburn County Board of Supervisors, the Aging Committee, Health and Human Services Committee, Finance Committee. Since retiring, I have been a volunteer member of a non-profit Outreach organization in our county to assist those who "fall through the cracks" of other programs. I also work as a bus aide for the special needs children program. I am fortunate to have had a wonderful career in Nursing and am able to use the skills I learned in retirement. My husband and I continue to enjoy the outdoor by hunting and fishing.

John Helling, Luck: John S. Helling and his wife, Rosmarie, have been married more than 60 years and live in the Town of Bone Lake, Wisconsin. John is a retired real estate executive and has actively volunteered for over 40 years. He has served as Chair of the Edina Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (Minnesota), as Treasurer of Community Action Partnership for Suburban Hennepin (a MN CAP agency), as Treasurer of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation, as a citizen member of the Hennepin County Capital Budgeting Task Force, as a volunteer income tax preparer for VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly). He is a past President of the Ice Age Trail Alliance and currently volunteers for its Indianhead Chapter. John also currently serves as Chair of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Northwest Wisconsin, and he is a member of the Polk & Burnett County Dementia Coalition. 

David Hoberg, Treasurer, Shiocton: Dave and his wife, Debbie, reside in rural Navarino Township within Shawano County. He is the retired Manager of Treasury and Finance for the North American subsidiaries of a Germany based international company. Dave graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a degree in accounting. Besides participating on the GWAAR board he is also on the Shawano County Commission on Aging and the Shawano County 4-H Horse Project key committee. In the past, Dave was on the Bonduel School Board for nine years and was a founding member of the Navarino First Responders. Dave and Debbie enjoy visits from their two children, reading, traveling, and sitting on the deck watching the sun set over the farm fields.

Cookie (Cornelia) Lough, Sayner: Cookie helped establish the Big Brother/Big Sister Program in Vilas and Oneida Counties after which she held a position with the Northwoods Restorative Justice Council, serving as Executive Director. Prior to moving to Vilas County, Cookie served in a position as Therapist at the Minnesota State Sexual Offender Program, was the administrator of three crisis homes for the state of Minnesota, and was the Director of Social Services at a medical facility. Cookie previously served on the Board of Directors for Day Break, a respite care center for seniors in Vilas County that is now closed. She currently serves on the board for the St. Germain Housing Authority, is an officer and board member for Prime Timers, serves on the Board of Directors for the St. Germain Women’s Service Organization, and serves on the Board of Directors for the ADRC-Vilas County. She volunteers at Howard Young and is in charge of the food court for Dragon Boat. She also serves as the Chair of the Independence Celebration for St. Germain.

Wes Martin, Oneida: Wesley Martin, Jr., presently resides on the Oneida Indian Reservation. Wes attended the University of New Mexico Law School and received of Certification of in American Indian Law. He owns a Law Office in Keshena Wisconsin and licenses to practice Law on all the reservations in the U.S. Wes served as a Judge, Prosecutor and presently a reserve judge on several reservations. Wes previously served on the GWARR Board for seven years and several years as Chair. He was re-appointed in 2022.

Rowena Nelson, Black River Falls:  Rowena currently works in the Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services and worked at Jackson County ADRC as on options counselor and a Long-Term Functional Screener Liaison. She also served as a member of the WI LTC FS Consult team. She currently serve as the Vice President on the Board of Directors for Inform Wisconsin. She has an extensive background in education, accounting, data management, and mental health assessment. She received her BA from Leyte Normal University in the Philippines, and is currently pursuing her master’s in business administration with an emphasis in general management and data analytics. Rowena has been a resident of Black River Falls for 12 years.

David Ostness, Chairperson, River Falls: Dave has been a St. Croix County Board Supervisor for six terms and serves on the Health and Human Services Board and has served eight years on the Council on Aging and Disabilities. He was also a driver for Meals on Wheels. Dave serves on the Wisconsin County Association (WCA) committees on Health and Human Services and Transportation, the National Association of Counties’ (NACO) Transportation Committee, and has been on the board of the West Central Wisconsin Community Action Agency, Inc. (West CAP) for eight years.

Rob Wilkinson, Janesville: Rob lives in Janesville. He is a veteran, US Army Security Agency. Rob is a retired Janesville police officer and was the Rock County Part D specialist for the first five years of the plan. Rob has been volunteering with various organizations, including GWAAR, AARP, First Call, etc., for many years.


Executive Committee (2023-2024):
David Ostness, Chairperson
Beth Esser, Vice Chair
David Hoberg, Treasurer
John Schnabl, GWAAR Executive Director

Finance Committee:
Dave Hoberg, Treasurer
Robert Borremans
Beth Esser
Dave Ostness
John Schnabl, GWAAR Executive Director

Agendas & Minutes