Gail Ostermann – 2022 Recipient
Greater Cedarburg Foundation Civic Award in Honor of James W. Coutts
Click Here to Watch a Video of Gail’s Comments
Gail Ostermann moved to Cedarburg in the mid ‘80s to take a position with a public relations firm. Little did she know then how the community would embrace her and how she would embrace it back.
Ostermann will be the recipient of the 19th annual Civic Award given by the Greater Cedarburg Foundation (GCF) during a ceremony and reception honoring her on Wednesday, April 27, at 7 p.m. at the Cedarburg Cultural Center. The public is invited.
Born and raised in Kohler, WI, Ostermann received her journalism degree from UW-Eau Claire in 1977. She was the state editor of the Janesville Gazette for 5 years before making her move to Cedarburg. “My claim to fame is that I once interviewed Barbara Bush before she was First Lady and I also interviewed Gary Burghoff, who played Radar O’Reilly on “M*A*S*H,” Ostermann said.
After moving here, she immediately fell in love with Cedarburg. “I marvel at how the city’s leaders have preserved its history. They had amazing foresight,” Ostermann said.
In 1986, Ostermann joined the staff of the local newspaper, the Ozaukee County News Graphic, as its advertising director. Being trained as a journalist, she was wary of a career in advertising but quickly found that she had a knack for it. “As a salesperson, I built relationships with lots of local businesspeople,” she said. “I was active in the Chamber of Commerce to make connections and to network. “
It was through those connections that Ostermann got involved in community service. She discovered that many local non-profits needed people on their boards with skills in writing, marketing & public relations. So Ostermann volunteered to become that person with the Cedarburg-Grafton Rotary, Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce, the Cedarburg Education Foundation, the Cedarburg Cultural Center, the Greater Cedarburg Foundation, the Cedarburg PAC Visiting Artists Series and the Cedarburg Tourism, Promotion & Development Committee. She has also served on some boards and committees in neighboring communities such as Mequon’s Gathering on the Green and Grafton‘s Holiday Events.
“Gail’s energy and enthusiasm are boundless,” says Patricia Thome, civic award chair and board member of the Greater Cedarburg Foundation. “Her commitment to our community is endless. And her kindness, thoughtfulness, and tact are beyond measure. Gail is the ultimate volunteer who helps keep so many of our non-profit organizations in the spotlight, never shining the spotlight on herself. She is worthy of recognition and honor by our greater community.”
Ostermann retired in 2015 as publisher of M Magazine, a lifestyle magazine for metro Milwaukee published by the Conley Media Group, which also owns the News Graphic. She resides with her significant other of 25 years, Bob Uhren, in a 130-year-old farmhouse in the town of Cedarburg that she calls a “labor of love.” And she still remains active in local causes, especially with the Cedarburg-Grafton Rotary.
“I have walked, strolled and run through the streets of downtown Cedarburg a gazillion times over the years and I never tire of it,” Ostermann said. “I remember driving home from work one day down Washington Avenue and the marquee at the Rivoli Theater was lit for the first time after the theater had been saved and renovated. I giggled all the way home; I was giddy with pride for living in this town.”
The public is invited to attend the Civic Award Celebration on April 27 at 7 p.m. at the Cedarburg Cultural Center, during which past GCF grant recipients will also be recognized. To reserve tickets at no charge, email CedarburgFoundation@gmail.com or call (262) 204-7387 by April 17, 2022.
Previous recipients of the Civic Award include Merlin Rostad, Carl Edquist, Ralph Huiras, Bob Armbruster, Edward Rappold, Janet and Don Levy, Mal Hepburn, Barbara and Layton Olsen, Jim and Sandy Pape, Jim Coutts, Paul and Philia Hayes, Jim Lee, Dick Dieffenbach, the men and women of the Cedarburg Fire Department, Patty Gallun Hansen, Jack and Susan Hale, Jerry and Alice Voigt, and last year’s recipient Bill Wernecke Sr.
The Greater Cedarburg Foundation has assets comprised of an endowment and donor advised funds which distribute grants to non-profit organizations. Since 2001, the Greater Cedarburg Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $1.7 million to many valued community organizations and projects that preserve the local cultural heritage, enhance artistic endeavors and support educational, social and community-based services in the greater Cedarburg area.