The Mequon Community Foundation (MCF) will hold its tenth annual Pillars of the Community Award Luncheon on Tuesday, June 7th, at 11:30 a.m. at Shully’s Cuisine in Thiensville. This year, the Foundation will honor Mequon resident Gregory (Sandy) Custer. “Sandy’s selfless commitment to the Mequon-Thiensville Community is exemplary,” says MCF president Lori Lorenz. “We are all beneficiaries of the time and talent he has so passionately given. He is a true pillar of our community.”
Sandy’s life of service began when he joined the Air Force, enlisting for six years of active duty, flying cargo planes and training Vietnamese pilots during the war. He received multiple Air Medals and the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded to an elite few who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism or extraordinary achievement in flight.
After his return, Sandy graduated from Marquette’s School of Dentistry with honors and established his dental practice in Mequon’s Jonathan Clark House, where he worked for 30 years. Remarkably, for seventeen of those years, Sandy continued his military service, flying in the Air National Guard two days per week while maintaining a full-time dentistry practice. To this day, Sandy gives back to the profession he loves by teaching at the Dental School, a commitment he has maintained for 30+ years.
Asked about his will to serve, he credits his parents who were life-long volunteers, always giving back to the community, and his father-in-law who told him after moving to Mequon, “If you want to be in the community, you need to be part of the community.” Sandy stresses this wasn’t a suggestion, but a directive that he took very seriously.
Seriously, indeed! There’s nary a demographic in this community that Sandy hasn’t touched: serving early on as President of Homestead High School’s Booster Club and Orchestra Parents; sitting on the MTSD School Board and Mequon-Thiensville Education Foundation; serving on the Board of the Mequon Nature Preserve and Gathering on the Green; serving on the Mequon Park Board and being appointed first Chairman of the Mequon Landmarks Commission; serving as President of the Thiensville-Mequon Rotary Club and multiple times as President of the Thiensville-Mequon Rotary Foundation.
Of the many projects in which Sandy has been involved, he was particularly instrumental in the creation of Rotary Park and the development of the Town Center Gateway, two notable jewels of our community.
Ask anyone about Sandy’s selfless contributions and the remarks are effusive. Connie Pukaite, past Mequon Mayor and Alderman, and fellow Rotarian, says “When I think of Sandy Custer, I think of how consistently he has helped make good things happen for the people of Mequon and Thiensville for more than 40 years without fanfare, and without public recognition of his commitment to our community. Sandy is a consummate volunteer, always giving his time, talent and resources for the good of our whole community. We are lucky to have him!“ And Karl Hertz, past Thiensville Village President, Ozaukee County Supervisor and MTSD Superintendent, says, “Sandy Custer has ‘shown people the way’ whether it was through his profession as a dentist, in his service to the nation in the Air Force, by his wonderful family, or his dedication to the community through the Thiensville-Mequon Rotary and its many projects. When Sandy made a commitment, he was going to see the project through to successful completion. MCF has made a great choice for this honor.”
Sandy lives in Mequon with his wife, Jean, of 54 years. Together, they have four adult children and 10 grandchildren.
To register for this event and help us celebrate Sandy Custer and his significant contribution to our community, please go to mtcfgives.org/potc.