Milwaukee County Senior Hall of Fame
The 2014 Milwaukee County Senior Citizen Hall of Fame
awardees inducted on Friday, May 23, 2014
The 2013 Milwaukee County Senior Hall of Fame inductees were honored on May 24, 2013
Shirley Browne Tom Chvala Garry Henning Cheri McGrath Lynne Reeves
The Senior Citizen Hall of Fame honors older adults in Milwaukee County who have made significant contributions to the community.
Established in 1997, the Hall of Fame honors five outstanding seniors in Milwaukee County who have served the community as volunteers and as advocates on behalf of the elderly. The Commission on Aging appoints a committee to review nominations for the Hall of Fame Award. This committee then recommends five seniors from the applicants to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to the 2013 Milwaukee County Senior Hall of Fame. Thank you for the significant contributions you have made to the community.
Click on the name of the 2013 inductee to view their biography
Shirley Browne Tom Chvala Garry Henning Cheri McGrath Lynne Reeves
| When you meet Shirley Browne you’ve met a person who is ageless, caring, and compassionate. Dubbed “indefatigable” by Father Michael of Saint Francis of Assisi, Shirley’s unrelenting drive, energy, and dedication unquestionably fit the adjective.
A devoted wife, incredible mother and grandmother, Shirley not only excellently fulfills her duties at home, but also extends her reach to helping her community at large.
Shirley thrives on spending most of her volunteer time brightening someone’s day; especially seniors, sparked by the tender loving care she gives her mother. Its no surprise her volunteerism encompasses her mother’s senior residence at Hadley Terrance or spreads to touch lives throughout Milwaukee County. Benefactors of her tireless devotion also include her Parish, St Francis of Assisi, The Adult Learning Center, City of Milwaukee Voter Registration, Interfaith Older Adult Program’s Inc., Milwaukee Bucks Seniorgee's Dance Team (Co-Captain since 2006), and the Jazzy Jewels Dance Troupe as a star leader and performer.
Shirley captures the essence of joy with her contagious smile and friendly disposition when performing, fundraising, and being an advocate or driving a senior to the doctor. A phenomenal woman with a huge heart, she gives selflessly to everyone, there are no strangers in Shirley’s world. A 2005 Catholic Herald Newspaper article about this extraordinary volunteer describes Shirley Browne as being,guided by faith in every facet of her life.”
“Tom’s character and friendly personality make him a great role model for others.” Tom has been an active participant of the Wisconsin Senior Olympics (WSO) for over ten years and has proudly served on the WSO Board of Directors for nine years. Tom is committed to volunteering his service at Miller Park in the concession stands during Milwaukee Brewers baseball games. “Tom demonstrated his dedication by attending over 75% of the scheduled work days during this four year time period.His dependable service was essential to the fundraising efforts of the organization. In 2007, Tom was chosen as the representative from Wisconsin to carry the banner/flag at the National Senior Games Opening Ceremonies in Louisville, Kentucky. This exclusive honor is awarded to Wisconsin Senior Olympic participants that have demonstrated significant dedication to the organization and can represent Wisconsin Senior Olympics in a dignified manner.
Tom also volunteers his time helping others have a better quality of life at St. Alphonsus Parish, St. Benedict the Moor Community Meal Program, St. Vincent Depaul Bread Run, Badgerland Striders, and the Greendale Lions Club. He contributes time, energy, and spirit serving these community organizations.
Mr. Chvala is a very humble man. He is loyal and is often the first to ask if he can be of assistance. Tom’s story is pretty remarkable having recovered from being in a coma for six weeks after he had been struck by a car while running back in 1989. This demonstration of his resiliency and passion for improving his quality of life can also be seen in his volunteer efforts.
“Garry Henning shows every senior that no matter who you are, where you live, and what your background is – it’s never too late to make a difference in the lives of others. Garry didn’t join an established organization to make his mark. He created a rich legacy out of the ashes of tragedy.”
Garry is the Founder and Executive Director of the Quadrevion Henning Foundation, which was named after his 12-year-old grandson, who he tragically lost to a drowning. Garry transformed himself into a forceful advocate helping families of missing children and serving the needs of youth in the community by advocating and educating safety awareness, civic engagement, and moral development.
“Mr. Henning is truly a gem to our city and nation.” He had received numerous awards from local, state, and national organizations including the Milwaukee Police Citizen Leadership Award, Wisconsin Attorney General – Wisconsin Clearing House for Missing and Exploited Children and Adults Community Award, and the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. Garry is also a Veteran of the United States Army 101st Airborne.
“Garry is a true role model, and Wisconsin is fortunate to have such an outstanding leader and advocate, always compassionate and ever willing to undertake this unique work, so demanding and emotionally fraught. He is admired and highly respected for his work, and recognition of his efforts is well-deserved.”
|Cheri is a woman who has put her stamp on Milwaukee. She has volunteered 2,173 hours over the last two years, donating blood to help save lives, being a tireless advocate for public transit, representing the Milwaukee County Commission for Persons with Disabilities as a commissioner, and proofreading and assembling Braille books at Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement, Inc (ABLE). Cheri has served with distinction on Milwaukee County’s Transit Plus Advisory Council, and also serves on the Transit Service Advisory Council, a group representing all bus riders. She is currently part of the Milwaukee County Transit’s New Freedom Program conducting trainings for new bus operators on how and when to assist individuals with disabilities. Additionally, she appears in transit training videos and local television commercials to promote riding the bus.As the ABLE board president and a director for a combined 12 years, Cheri has been crucial in helping the organization thrive as a small nonprofit during times when many other small organizations have not been able to survive. Furthermore, this year, Cheri is celebrating 23 years of donating blood with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin. She donated 120 units of whole blood, potentially saving 357 lives.
Cheri is busy, providing over two decades and thousands of hours of volunteerism. It’s quite unbelievable the time expended on top of the diversity of volunteerism. One can easily see why Cheri received the “Women Putting Their Stamp on Metro Milwaukee” award for Abilities Awareness in 2011.
Lynne is a person you can depend upon 100%.” She takes her service in her church seriously at Our Lady of Good Hope. In addition to singing in the church choir, she serves communion during masses, works at the annual auction, assists in baking 380 fruit cakes each Christmas season and works very hard at the annual picnic and church festival. She is also a member of the Bereavement group serving refreshments after funerals and has assisted in the distribution of newsletters encompassing the last 12 years for the parish. She is a faithful worker assisting in the “Trash for Cash” program during the events at the St. Patrick’s Day picnic.
Lynne is also a member of the Elks Club where she is treasurer of the Women’s Club, assisted with blood drives for 18 years, and donated her time working at bingo games at the EisenhowerCenter for employees that have Multiple Sclerosis. She is a dedicated worker at St. Paul’s meal site serving and cleaning and does not stop there throughout the year. She is busy collecting food for at least 3 families in the Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas season as a member of the Brown Deer Seniors Club. "Lynne does not know the meaning of the word NO and if anyone needs a helping hand, she is that extra hand."
All Milwaukee County Senior Hall of Fame inductees have shown distinguished volunteer service in any one or a combination of the following categories:
- Voluntary service of an educational, community or humanitarian nature
- Exceptional contributions as a volunteer in efforts to improve the lives of people regardless of race, creed or national origin
- Voluntary service in advocacy on behalf of Wisconsin senior citizens
Click on the years below for pictures and biographies of current and past Milwaukee County Senior Hall of Fame awardees.
Hall of Fame archives 1997 - 2013
Mary Ann Ganny
Ron Schwartz -Special Century of Service Award
Irene Bishop Goggans
Viola “Vi” Hawkins
Belle Garfinkel Special Century of Service Award
Harriet Dorsey - Special Century of Service Award
Sr. Jeanne d' Arc Omilan
Louise Abrahams Yaffe
Thomas Brown Jr.
Patricia D. Miller
Mary Helen Gottwald
Gwen T. Jackson
Brahm (Bob) Schapiro