Putting himself in the shelves
Age: "A young 50"
Occupation: He and his wife, Ann-Marie, own their own real estate appraisal business.
"She doesn't get near enough credit for what she does because you know there's always a woman behind it," he said of his time away from the business while he helped with library construction.
Family: Wife, Ann-Marie; son, Nicholas, 19; five daughters, Kiah, 18; Cassie, 22; Courtney, 23; Christine, 24; and Christi Rusch, 31.
Favorite reading: Stephen King or history books.
Favorite music: "We just love a whole broad range of music. ...If it's good, we like it."
Favorite food: Grilled steaks.
Favorite hobby: Woodworking. He has a shop in his garage where he made the cabinets that fill the remodeled kitchen in the family's Victorian-style home.
"Woodworking is a wonderful thing, and it can be a," he trailed off with a laugh. "Any good woodworker has a wood burner in their shop, and I do."
Role model: His father, Earl, who died in November 2007.
One word to describe himself: After the laughter subsides, Elmer said, "Patience, from raising kids."
Favorite place: California. Elmer was born there and worked in construction for more than a decade there. "That has to be the best place in the world," he said. "That's where my heart truly is."
Any other quirky facts? "How much time do you have?"
BRODHEAD Jerry Elmer has had a second home the past year, and the community is better off because of it.
"He has just donated and dedicated countless hours to the project," said Gloria Rosa, director of the Brodhead Memorial Library.
"The project" is the new library on the city's south side, which will celebrate its grand opening next month. Elmer's construction background coupled with his get-it-done attitude moved the idea of a new library from years of planning to reality.
"We had a really hard time for a few years getting the library down to a workable (budget)," Mayor Doug Pinnow said.
But once Elmer filled a vacant spot on the library board in late 2007, he convinced the board that parts of the project needed to be cut to move forward, Pinnow said.
"He's followed that all the way through," he said.
Elmer, 50, said it's all about giving back to the community.
"When you have opinions, you should probably do something about it … So here's my chance," he said with a laugh about how he got involved.
Elmer grew up in New Glarus, while his wife, Ann-Marie, is a Brodhead native. Together, they own and run AC Elmer Real Estate Appraisers out of their home.
Elmer's background is building. He owned several concrete and site work businesses around the country before the couple moved to Brodhead to raise their children in 2001.
When the opportunity arose to work on the new library, Elmer jumped right in.
The library had a big wish list, and he needed to bring the project within its budget. He sat down at his dining room table with the lead architect to get the project moving.
"We sat right here and spent four hours going room by room and pretty much just kind of emptied the library out and said this is what we need, we have to have this, we would like to have this, or we're just not going to have this at all," he said.
The library board gave Elmer the authority to make decisions throughout the process, avoiding delays to convene on simple decisions.
"They put faith in me," he said, laughing and pointing at himself. "They just trusted me for some unknown reason."
The result for Elmer was a voluntary, nearly part-time job. He spent a lot of time at the construction site, and the community will see its library open at least a month earlier than expected.
Elmer, a man who likes to talk with his hands and refer to his wife for details on dates and other specifics, said he just wanted to do his share and see if the library project could be done.
"Basically, people are on boards all over the place and not getting any recognition. It's all for free," he said. "You've got to want to give back to the community."