Editor’s note: “Support Staff Spotlight” is a weekly series that shines a spotlight on those that work behind the scenes in our area county departments that keep everything running smoothly. These individuals rarely get any attention (or credit?) but are vital to their respective departments. A new “Support Staff Spotlight” (formerly known as "21 Things You Might Not Know About Me") from one of our six-county coverage-area county departments will be published each Monday on DrydenWire.com.
WASHBURN COUNTY -- This week, we shine the spotlight on Jerusha Dryden. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jerusha, she is the Office Manager at the Washburn County District Attorney's Office and has been at the DA's Office for 11 years.
Before you read Jerusha’s “21 Things You Might Know About Me,” check out what her boss, Washburn County District Attorney Aaron Marcoux had to say about her:
"Besides being a kind, considerate and thoughtful person, Jerusha is a focused and detail oriented Office Manager. She anticipates the needs of her co-workers and is always a step ahead. Put simply, Jerusha Dryden is a blessing!!!" -- Aaron Marcoux
21 Things About Me: Jerusha Dryden
- I was born in North Central Minnesota, and my family moved to Wisconsin when I was in 2nd grade. A fond memory from my early childhood in Minnesota is spending time with my Aunt Ruth Ann. I remember “helping” her with her garden.
- I was homeschooled from 3rd through 12th grade. Some favorite memories from those schooling years are studying Latin with my mother, and Ancient Greek with both my mother and father after he would get home from work. There are both positive and negative perceptions of homeschooling but for me, since I am by nature an independent worker, I excelled and loved it. I received good grades, not just from my parents, but even on the tests required by the State of Wisconsin!
- I played piano from elementary school through high school. I loved playing classical music, and hope to get a piano again someday. Playing a musical instrument can be such an emotional outlet.
- During high school, I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Mexico with the organization Youth with a Mission (YWAM). I’m pretty sure I would not have been brave enough to go, except that my older sister, Joy, was also going as part of her role as a missionary with YWAM. It was an incredible and impactful experience that opened my eyes to the vast needs in this world and sparked a desire within me to do something with my life that would make a difference.
- A favorite memory from high school is roller skating on Monday nights on Christian music night at Postle’s Skate City in Rice Lake. That is where I first met my now husband Ben. He was my “high school crush”. Partly because he would always win the speed skating races, the limbo-hop on skates, and the basketball games they played - but mostly because of his unforgettable, charismatic personality!
- After graduation, I got to go on a road trip with my oldest brother, Blaine. We traveled through Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana, and then drove north through Canada to visit our brother David & his family. On our way home, we stopped at the Utah Salt Flats, Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore. It was so fun to see all those places. I’m glad I have Google Maps when I travel now because I found out on that trip that I am a terrible map reader!
- I completed an Interior design correspondence course by mail after high school graduation. The assignments were fun, & could have sparked my current love of watching shows on HGTV.
- After graduation, I lived in Fargo, North Dakota; Las Vegas, Nevada; & Eureka, California. North Dakota is hot and windy in the summer, and cold and windy in the winter; Vegas is dusty and busy; Eureka was a pretty little town right on the coast and next to the Northern Redwood forest and is the only one of these three I would recommend visiting, although I did meet some wonderful friends in all the places I lived.
- From age 16 through age 30 I worked in the floral/greenhouse/landscaping industry, food service, childcare, a thrift store, US Bank Fraud Prevention, and even tried working at a window factory (which was the shortest time I spent at a job - 3 days). I truly believe that this variety of work experience helped prepare me to be successful not only in my current career but in life overall.
- While working at the Floral Department in a Hornbacher’s grocery store in Fargo, ND, I became acquainted with other employees at the store who had moved to the U.S. as refugees from Africa. Some of them had been child soldiers. After getting to know them I realized that I wanted to work in the legal field, in the hope that I could make a difference.
- I enrolled in and completed an online Legal Administrative Assistant program at Minnesota State Community & Technical College. I later also completed their Paralegal program online. Completing those tech school degrees was so validating and helped give me the confidence to move my life in a new direction.
- I moved back to Washburn County in May 2011 and worked at the Indianhead Flower Shoppe in Spooner, WI (such a fun job!). In the fall of 2011, Mike Bitney, District Attorney at the time, took a chance on me and hired me as a temporary employee to fill a vacancy at the DA’s office. In the spring of 2012, I was hired as a long-term employee, and I worked for Mike for over a year before he moved on to become a Judge in Barron County. At the time, Washburn County only employed two secretaries/assistants for the District Attorney, and I developed not only a wonderful working relationship with Shelly, the other assistant that the County hired that spring, but also a lasting friendship!
- I’ve worked for 3 other District Attorneys during my time at the Washburn County District Attorney’s Office: Tom Frost, Angeline Winton, and Aaron Marcoux, as well as former ADA Sheila Yohnk and current ADA Christian Ness. I have learned so much from all of the attorneys I have worked for! I appreciate everything that I learned from each of them. Regarding my current DA, Aaron Marcoux, I admire his persistent passionate approach to incorporating his faith into his career.
- In 2015, my high school crush, Ben, was moving back to Washburn County and we reconnected to catch up on old times. Within weeks we were dating, and in September 2016 we were married. Tom Frost, my boss at the time, officiated our wedding, and Angeline Winton (then Assistant District Attorney and now current Washburn County Judge) was my witness. I feel blessed to have connected so strongly with so many individuals that I have worked with at the DA’s office. Speaking of…
- My current co-workers at the DA’s Office, Lindsay, Rhona, and Deb, make it easy to love going to work! The loyalty and support we have for each other and the commitment to doing our best work create an environment where we are all able to be successful at our jobs. And we make sure to help each other find some humor in each day too!
- If I wasn’t working at the DA’s office I would love to go back to college to study horticulture and have a job working with plants. Horticulture fascinates me!
- I’ve never had a “bucket list” but a few goals I hope to accomplish during my life are: learning how to build simple furniture, learning to play the acoustic guitar, and taking a basic automotive class. These things may seem random, but I find as I’m getting older that I love learning new things. Also - cars and their engines are just cool; I think it would be so satisfying to create a custom piece of furniture; and the sound of guitar music speaks to me.
- When I’m not working you will likely find me in our kitchen (or as my husband calls it “the Babe Cave”). I never enjoyed working in food service, but I thoroughly enjoy learning how to make new recipes, and I’m blessed with a family of good sports who don’t mind eating my experiments. Cooking and baking are great therapy in my opinion. The best part is, with a TV in the kitchen, I get to be inspired by the countless cooking shows that are available! During the warmer months, you can find me working on one of my gardens. I’m determined to conquer vegetable gardening one of these seasons!
- I’ve always dreamed of having an in-home library, and with the help of our two youngest kids, Kenneth and Rallye, I was able to cross that off my list when they helped me transform a room upstairs into a library for my collection of hundreds of books. (And Ben was glad to get the boxes out of the garage!)
- Ben and I have 5 children, Grace, Brady, Ana, Rallye, and Kenneth; and 2 grandchildren, Bentlee and Baylor. We are so very proud of Grace (& Tanner!), Brady, and Ana as they navigate through adulthood! I only wish we could see them all more often, and we are thoroughly enjoying these years we have with Rallye and Kenneth still at home.
- I was blessed to grow up in a family where faith in God was a natural part of our life, and with parents who consistently encouraged Bible Study and prayer. I am blessed to be in a season of life now where I get to partake in weekly Bible studies with family and my perspective on faith continues to grow. My journey in life has taken me to many different places, and I am most grateful, that God has blessed me with being right where I am.
Note: You can read "21 Things" from other support staff members from our area county departments by clicking the link below.