MCE helping out one of their own

February 15, 2019

CUSTER — Jodi Baunoch knew when she inherited her mother-in-law’s imitation Christmas tree a few years back that the tree still had a lot of love to give.

Baunoch, the administrative secretary at Mason County Eastern, brought the tree to school and has been using it to foster a sense of giving back and community for the students at MCE.

“I think the tree helps the kids to learn how to give back,” she said. “I think it makes them feel good inside and grow closer together.”

This year the tree is being used to help one of their own, Liane Dryer, who was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. Dryer, a paraprofessional at the school, has been working with students for the past six years.

“I love it here. I am comfortable here and I love working here,” said Dryer, who lives in Montague but drives to Custer every day because of the students and the staff at MCE. “This is the best school to work for because they are all very supportive.”

This school year, the students and staff have been supporting Dryer through the Tree of Love by buying paper hearts to hang on the tree for $1, with all the proceeds helping Dryer.

Dryer said the support has been exactly what she has needed. She was diagnosed on Sept. 18, 2018, and is having treatments in Grand Rapids.

Dryer’s two children, Nathan and Natalie, are both graduates of Mason County Eastern.

Baunoch said the Tree of Love has been in existence at MCE for about five years, helping with a variety causes, including providing mittens and scarfs for the needy and supporting local law enforcement.