Dr. MYRON O. DOWNS, Board President

  • Education: Bachelor’s of Science from Tuskegee University and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tuskegee University in Alabama. Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida’s College of Medicine.
  • Professional Career: Athens Veterinary Surgery Center and the Animal Emergency Hospital. Former faculty member of University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine teaching small animal surgery. Surgical Residency at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Internship at the University of California at Davis College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Civic Activities: Piedmont College Trustee Board, Georgia Veterinary Medical Association Budget and Audit Committee, and Deacon Board of Ebenezer Baptist Church West. He is a former President and Treasurer of the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association. Formerly served the Parent Advisory Board for the Athens-Clarke County School District, Athens Youth Academy Trojans Board of Directors, Athens Banner Herald Advisory Board, Athens-Clarke County Overview Commission, Athens Technical College Veterinary Technology Advisory Committee, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Advisory Board, Georgia Veterinary Medical Association Board of Directors, and the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates.


Laura Welch
LAURA WELCH, Board Vice President & Treasurer
Court Administrator, ACC Superior Court

  • Education: BA in Economics, Arizona State University and a Master of Public Administration, University of Georgia.
  • Professional Career: Prior to becoming a court administrator, she was a local government auditor, a consultant to the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., and a middle school teacher.  As Athens-Clarke County Court Administrator, Ms. Welch oversees many aspects of day-to-day operations, including budgeting, human resource administration, grant writing and administration, computer information systems, logistics, and special projects.
  • Recent civic roles: Athens Little League Baseball, Georgia Options, Inc., AIDS Athens, and Barrow Elementary School.


RITA PATRICK, Board Secretary

  • Retired from career in banking industry; former small business owner; currently serves as Treasurer, Georgia Options Foundation, Inc. Previous affiliations include Athens Regional Medical Center Foundation and Boy Scouts of America.


Phil Gaffney
PHIL GAFFNEY, Board Member, Immediate Past President
Owner, Gaffney Management Services, LLC

  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree, University of Nebraska-Kearney (1972); University of Notre Dame Executive Program (1985)
  • Professional Career: Eaton Corporation (1972 to 1979); Clark Equipment Company (1979 to 1989); Omaha Steel Company (1989 to 1992); Club Car/Ingersoll Rand (1992 to 2009); President, Gaffney Management Services, LLC from 2010 to present.
  • Recent civic roles: Board of Directors, Georgia Options, Inc.; Board of Directors, Columbia County Georgia Development Authority; Director, University Health Care Community Foundation; Board of Directors, Northwood Property Owners Association, Evans, GA.

Dr. Joe Cubells
DR. JOE CUBELLS, Board Member

  • Associate Professor, Emory University School of Medicine
  • Director of Medical and Adult Services, Emory Autism Center



  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Florida (1975) and Post Graduate work from the University of South Carolina (1987).
  • Professional Career: Retired from Briggs and Associates in 2016 after 14 years as Region Director for Region 2. Briggs and Associates provides Supported Employment Services for people with disabilities in the state of Georgia. Prior to that she worked as an Instructor at Augusta Technical College, Speech Therapist for Columbia County schools in Augusta GA, and Director for “Camp Free To Be Me” an integrated summer program for students with developmental disabilities in Columbia County Schools.
  • Civic Activities (past and present): Surrogate Parent for foster children in Special Education, Ronald McDonald Board Member, Patient-Family Center Care adviser for the Medical College of GA, Region 2 Quality Improvement Council Member, Community Service Board Member.


Dennise L. Grayson, Esq., Board member

Dennise Grayson is a native of Athens, Georgia and is licensed to practice law in Florida, Georgia, Connecticut and Arizona.

Dennise’s law firm is located in downtown Watkinsville, and she focuses on Guardianships and Conservatorships; Probate and Estate Administration; Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning; Veterans Benefits; Medicaid Planning; and Special Needs Trusts.

Ms. Grayson is an elder law and special needs planning attorney who frequently speaks to civic organizations serving aging residents and families with special needs.

Dennise is accredited by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Association of Elder Law Attorneys. She served on the community service board for Advantage Behavioral Health Systems; was a founding member of the Oconee County Civitan Club and the North Oconee Rotary Club; and served on the Executive Board of the Pilot Club of Oconee County. Dennise was also an Advisor to Alpha Delta Pi sorority for 8 years and serves as a foster family for Schnauzer Love Rescue.

When she has free time, Dennise and her miniature schnauzer, Maggie can be found roaming the aisles of home improvement stores.


2017 Meeting Schedule

Georgia Options, Inc. meetings are open to the public.

Time: 5:45pm

Location: GO Main Office (unless otherwise specified)


January 30th, 2018
March 20th, 2018 (annual meeting)
May 22nd, 2018
July 24, 2018
September 25th, 2018
November 27th, 2018