Posted 2/16/16 (Tue)
By Cecile Krimm
If you were looking for the hardest working man in Crosby over the past few years, you needn’t have looked any farther than behind the pharmacy counter at J. Co. Drug.
In the midst of an oil boom that saw the number of prescriptions skyrocket, Pharmacist I.J. Jacobson lost one helper to relocation and another to retirement. It’s been a slow process, but last week the pharmacy was finally fully staffed again.
Matthew Song, a pharmacist who also works at Mercy Medical Center, has helped out parttime over the past 18 months.
In December, Paulette (Fleck) Overbo, a pharmacy tech with 30 years of experience, also began splitting her time between a job at J. Co. and one in Williston.
Finding a full time pharmacist, however, was looking almost impossible until Andrew Holm came on the scene. He started work last week.
Suddenly, said I.J., “I’m like a fish out of water.”
With so many hands on deck, I.J. is beginning to see light at the end of what had become a very long tunnel.
Used to what he called “constant pressure all day long,” now the future is looking “pretty good.”
Holm’s dad from Crosby
Andrew Holm grew up in Bismarck but his dad, Kevin, grew up in Crosby. His maternal grandparents, Dale and LaDonna Christopherson, live in Wildrose.
Only a couple of days on the job and Andrew said it seems long lost relations are “coming out of the woodwork.”
“Most of the Holms here now are cousins of my dad’s. I’m kind of meeting them for the first time here,” he said. “Up here, you definitely get to know people a lot quicker.”
Andrew said he took the “long way” into the trade, receiving his bachelor of science degree and a degree in bio-chemistry before settling on a career as a pharmacist.
“I was interested in pursing something in healthcare and doing something with chemistry sort of led me down the pharmacy path.”
He graduated from North Dakota State University last August following internships in settings as diverse as Portland, Ore., and Anchorage, Alaska.
“I was looking for a job and heard they were looking at an opening up here to assist I.J.,” said Andrew. “It looked like a good opportunity -- a good place to live and work.”
Andrew likes the idea of working in a retail setting in a community so close to extended family.
“You can kind of get to know the population you’re serving pretty well,” he said.
In his spare time he likes running, playing basketball and -- now that he doesn’t have so much studying to do -- reading.
Others have ties, too
Song has been I.J.’s right hand man for the past year-and-a-half, but he works full time at the Mercy Medical Center pharmacy in addition to helping out in Crosby.
Song’s acquaintance with Ted Lindseth, who began his pharmacy career in Crosby, clued Song in to the need for a second pair of hands at J. Co. Drug.
“Ted works with me at the hospital. He tells me all about his ‘olden days,’” Song said.
Song is a native of South Korea who immigrated by himself to Wisconsin at the age of 14 and lived with a host family while he finished his secondary education.
He is recently married and his wife teaches school in Williston.
Overbo grew up in Ambrose and graduated from high school in Crosby. She and her husband, Keith, moved back to Divide County from Williston about 15 months ago.
Keith now works at the county shop and Paulette is splitting her time between her longtime position at a pharmacy in Williston and J. Co, and will work about two days a week in Crosby.
Even with so many hands now helping out, Overbo is amazed at the workload I.J. has managed.
“He is a busy man. He’s been over-worked for years, poor guy.”
Rarely seen anywhere but behind the pharmacy counter lately, I.J. took a stroll down Main Street one afternoon last week.
It’s a small luxury, but one that would be impossible without the new help.