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About the Founder/Editor-In-Chief/ Emeritus


Charmaine Savage

Charmaine (Bell) Savage founded I Am East St. Louis, The Magazine, a free community publication committed to accentuating only the positive aspects of East St. Louis, Illinois.  The maiden issue of I Am East St. Louis, The Magazine premiered January 2016.


Charmaine was born and raised in East St. Louis, IL where she graduated from Lincoln Sr. High School in 1985.  She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from McKendree College and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.


Charmaine is a retired U.S. Navy Commander (O-5).  She served on active duty as a Human Resources Officer for 21 years, during which she deployed to Baghdad, Iraq for 11 months in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  Her military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal and numerous Navy Service medals, awards and unit commendations. 

After retiring from the Navy in 2010, Charmaine accepted a Navy civil service assignment at Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), headquarters for the U.S. Navy SEALs, in San Diego, CA.  In her position as the Military Personnel (Human Resources) Officer (GS-14), she developed innovative products and metrics leading to significant cost-savings, greater transparency, and improved responsiveness in military human resources programs.  During her tenure, she earned the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, the second highest honorary award under the Department of Navy Civilian Awards Program.


The founder and editor of “I Am East St. Louis,” Charmaine (Bell) Savage, died Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 51 years young.

“Charmaine exemplified excellence and much care in the City of East St. Louis, Illinois,” a statement from East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks. “We will greatly miss her presence and dedication.”


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