Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Governor Nominates 3 New Members to Wis. Board of Veterans Affairs


Governor Scott Walker has nominated three new members to fill most of the four current vacancies on the Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs.

The political appointee nominees, who begin serving immediately, are as below. 


Al Richards of Grafton, Wis. (at center)

5th Congressional District (Rep. Sensenbrenner)

Al Richards, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and well known throughout the state as a prominent veterans advocate, is a past state commander and national executive committee member of The American Legion. 

He is extremely active in many Legion and other veteran and military support activities, including Badger Boys and Girls State, Camp American Legion, and as a youth mentor with a Wisconsin Army National Guard ChalleNGe Academy cadet.

Richards is a member of the Village of Grafton Community Development Authority.

He fills the Board seat vacated by Jackie Guthrie, completing the remainder of a six-year term that expires on May 1, 2013.  His nomination must still be confirmed by the Wisconsin State Senate.



Ben Collins of Lake Geneva, Wis.

1st Congressional District (Rep. Ryan)

Ben Collins is an Afghanistan War veteran and current Wisconsin Army National Guard member.  A businessman, he was a GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor candidate in last Fall’s heavily contested election.

Collins is co-owner and co-founder of Aptus, a defense technology and software company. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Collins is a member of Rotary International, The American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Collins replaces former state senator Rod Moen on the Board, whose term expired on May 1st.  If confirmed by the Senate, Collins will serve a six-year term ending May 1, 2017.



John Gaedke of Merrimac, Wis. 

2nd Congressional District (Rep. Baldwin)

John Gaedke is an Iraq War veteran and a member of Wisconsin Air National Guard with U.S. Air Force service.  He currently serves as the 115th Mission Support Group Deputy Commander at Wisconsin Air National Guard at Truax Field in Madison.  He is an elected Merrimac Town Board supervisor. 

Gaedke’s past military assignments include Commander, 115th Security Forces Squadron, Wisconsin Air National Guard; HQ, USAF Security Forces Center Antiterrorism Branch Chief; and Commander, 115th Services Flight, Wisconsin Air National Guard.  His education includes the Air University, Cardinal Stritch University, and the Community College of the Air Force. 

Merrimac town board members, including John Gaedke, at right.

Gaedke replaces former Board member David Boetcher, whose term expired on May 1st.  Pending Senate confirmation, Gaedke’s six-year term will expire on May 1, 2017. 


--Anthony Hardie

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