Employee profile: Denise Henderson


“I grew up in the boondocks,” Denise Henderson explained.  A quick scan of the communities in which she was raised (Sand Lake, Max and Spring Lake in northern Itasca County) will confirm that she isn’t exaggerating.  She attended North Elementary School, a remote school in the Deer River school district that was closed as the school-age population in the area dwindled.

Denise’s father was a logger his entire life, so living in the vast forests of northern Itasca County was home.  However, Denise’s desire to try something new resulted in moving to an even more remote “boondocks.”  After graduating from high school, she and her husband-to-be moved to Alaska where they had their first child, a daughter.  Two years later Denise moved back to Minnesota.

Denise raised three daughters and two sons.  To keep the family fed, clothed and housed, she entered the work world.  One of her first jobs was working with the Deer River Head Start program.  While working there she went to college to earn a teaching certificate.  After some time she began working at Northland Recovery Center’s adolescent care program for four years.  She did a bit of everything: receptionist, intake coordinator, probation office liaison, insurance and medications coordinator and transcriptionist.   She then took a job as assistant manager at Christopher & Banks, a clothing store in the Central Square Mall, before accepting a position as a full-time teller at Grand Rapids State Bank in 2007.

“I like the interaction with different customers here at the bank,” said Denise.  “We get quite a variety of people in a variety of moods and circumstances.  Each person is different, and so my job is not repetitious because I’m constantly dealing with different ways to help different people. 

“I also like the fact that we really get to know one another here at GRSB,” she continued.  “For the most part people are friendly and outgoing, and they have each other’s back.  When I think about it, I spend more time at work than I do at home, so how I get along with people at work is very important.  I want to add that Heather (teller manager) has been a wonderful supervisor; she is flexible and great to work for.”

Denise grew up with four brothers and one sister and family has always been important to her.  When she moved away from home after high school, family was never far from her mind.  She loved Alaska; she and her husband lived in Fairbanks where the mountains were beautiful and the air was dryer than Minnesota, making the winters easier.  However, they had to travel a long ways to go hunting and fishing, things she grew up with in her backyard in Minnesota.  There are trees in parts of Alaska, but they’re not Minnesota trees.  The best they could do to celebrate their first Christmas away from home was a sad “Charlie Brown” tree.  After two years, they decided to pack up for home in Minnesota.

“I love the outdoors,” Denise said. “That’s where I was raised.  Hunting, fishing; anything outdoors is what interests me.  Well, that and my grandchildren.   My daughters live in the area, and I have five grandchildren ages five months to seven years old.  I see them on weekends and spend time with them every chance I get.  They mean everything to me.”

For Denise, her heart and her home are clearly in Itasca County.

denise's family  damian taelyn  owen mariah  ethan grandma

Top left: Denise's family at a recent wedding; (L-R) Denise, Randy (her children's father), Trevor, Nikki, Alicia, Heather & Colton. Top right: grandchildren Damian & Taelyn.  Bottom left: grandchildren Owen & Mariah.  Bottom right: Grandma Denise and new addition Ethan Michael. 

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