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Tosa Talks: Community Service, Advocacy Among Attributes of Tosa’s Citizen of the Year

Past, present and future are all among the priorities for this year’s Distinguished Citizen in Wauwatosa.

The Wauwatosa Distinguished Citizen Award Council has chosen Jill Wickham as the 2017 recipient. The award recognizes people who have made significant voluntary contributions to community life in Tosa.

“These individuals, by their selfless dedication to making a difference in our community, make Wauwatosa a great place to live,” reads a press release about the award.

Leaders from Wauwatosa’s school systems, fire and police services, civic government, neighborhoods and business community have all been honored through the years.

A Wauwatosa resident for 34 years, Wickham has served the community in a number of ways.

“Jill has graced our city with a level of community involvement rarely seen,” the release reads.

In addition to founding the Jennings Park Neighborhood Association, Wickham served as its president for six years and has acted as membership chair since its inception in 2000. In 2004, she became president of the Wauwatosa Neighborhood Association Council (NAC), the release said, which is the parent organization that supports Tosa’s 30 neighborhood associations.

“(Wickham’s) research, advocacy and recordkeeping became a catalyst for the formation of the Friends of Hoyt Park & Pool,” the release said.  “(Her) volunteerism honors the past, visualizes the future, motivates others and drives ideas into results.”

Lasting impact on people, places and things in Tosa

Wickham also established and chaired NAC’s ‘Windows into Wauwatosa,’ a popular event that attracted thousands of visitors in its four years, providing glimpses into buildings that make up Wauwatosa’s past, present and future.  She continues to be active in NAC, having served on its Executive Board since 2005 and as its treasurer for four years.

Her appreciation for history runs deep, prompting her service on the Board of the Wauwatosa Historical Society for six years. She has also been an active volunteer in several local schools, as well as a member of the Wauwatosa Woman’s Club.

“(Wickham’s) intelligence, determination, organizational prowess and genuinely kind nature are the perfect storm of community leadership,” the release reads, adding that she personifies the true meaning of civic responsibility.

The public is invited to recognize Wickham as the Wauwatosa 2017 Distinguished Citizen and thank her for making Wauwatosa a better place to live, work, play and raise a family.

In the meantime, we took some time to chat with her about some of her accomplishments:

Mayfair Reserve: What has been the biggest challenge of your volunteer work and how did you overcome it?

Jill Wickham: I have been challenged to find enough volunteers to serve as docents at The Little Red Store, and as Site Volunteers for the Windows Into Wauwatosa events.   I have reached out to people I’ve gotten to know through other community groups, especially those with can-do attitudes, and Wauwatosa has a lot of those! I’ve also been lucky to have family members and friends willing to help me as well.  

MR: What do you most enjoy about your volunteer work in Wauwatosa?

JW: I love getting acquainted with people whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise, through work, church or school.  I’ve met some wonderful people through the Wauwatosa Historical Society, the Wauwatosa Woman’s Club and the Neighborhood Association Council.

MR: Who inspires you and why?

JW: I’ve served for several years and on many events with Robin Luther, a past-president of the Neighborhood Association Council.  She never fails to be positive, kind and upbeat, all while working hard toward accomplishing the goals at hand.

MR: How would you describe the community of Wauwatosa to a visitor?

JW: To me, Wauwatosa is the perfect example of a community that honors its history and maintains its neighborhoods and historic Village, while encouraging growth in the diversity of its residents, businesses and community services.

MR: Can you describe a moment or moments when you stopped and realized this is why you are doing what you’re doing as a volunteer in Wauwatosa?

JW: The Eschweiler Administration Building was open, pre-restoration, for one of our Windows Into Wauwatosa events, and over 600 people toured it.  Looking at the lines of people, waiting with smiles of anticipation on their faces, to get in the building, made me feel proud of what I’ve accomplished as a volunteer in Wauwatosa.

Wickham to be recognized April 25

Please join other community members, family, and friends on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at the Blue Mound Golf and Country Club for the official Wauwatosa 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award Banquet and Ceremony.

The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. (cash bar) and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

Reservations are $45 per person, and the deadline to register is Saturday, April 14, 2018.   

For more information, or to make a reservation, visit the City’s web site at www.wauwatosa.net.