Walla Walla man earns post as Washington State Patrol trooper

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Garnering Top Overall Cadet and Top Collision Investigation awards, Walla Walla native Steve Jackson graduated from the Washington State Patrol Academy June 12 in Olympia. Attended by family including his wife, Breanne, children Micaela, 7, Nick, 3, and Emma, 16 months, parents Ben and Elaine Jackson of Dixie, and friends, the ceremony was held in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Washington State Patrol Training Division conducts training at the WSP Training Academy and throughout the state. Training for other law enforcement agencies is also provided by the division, which is nationally recognized for its Emergency Vehicle Operators Training Program.

Steve was chosen after a rigorous selection process. He and fellow trooper cadets attended a 26-week basic training course in the classroom then received eight weeks of practical instruction with experienced training officers throughout the state.

One of the most notable academy courses is collision investigation, which “remains on the cutting edge of technology, investigative procedures and techniques,” according to the patrol’s website.

“Washington State troopers are nationally recognized as experts in the field because of ongoing advances in the program and refresher training for field personnel. The Total Station Survey is a hallmark of the training and covers basic, advanced, technical, and reconstruction levels of collision investigation,” the website notes.

Steve attended the training complex, dedicated in 1969 at Shelton, Wash., about 25 miles north of Olympia. Facilities include an administration building, dormitories for up to 96 students, classrooms and conference rooms, multi-purpose building with a gymnasium and training tank/pool, kitchen and dining hall, outdoor firing range, driver-training course, and an auto shop. The complex can accommodate up to 120 students daily for training and/or meetings.

Once basic training and practical phases are completed, cadets graduate as commissioned troopers and start their careers with specific assignments in one of the Patrol’s eight districts.

Steve’s now a trooper with the Sunnyside detachment, Elaine said. Steve and family live in West Richland.

Steve was homeschooled through high school, attended selected classes and participated in sports and band at Walla Walla High School and graduated in 2005. He attended classes at Walla Walla Community College for one year before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006. During a four-year stint, he served two tours in Iraq. Honorably discharged in 2010, he attended WWCC for another year and worked for a year in the family business, Ben’s Roofing.

He is the grandson of Jan Adams and son-in-law of Mike and Patty Lockart, all of Walla Walla.


At 96, Ilene Townsend has devoted much of her life to serving others. She also took the opportunity to capture herself with five other generations in her family in a photograph taken on the steps of her residence, the Odd Fellows Home in Walla Walla.

She and husband Chester “Chet” Townsend married on Sept. 10, 1935. During World War II they lived in Oklahoma where he worked in a powder plant. They moved to Dixie in 1944 and raised their children there, said daughter Glenda Robertson. Chet died in 1995.

Ilene was not only a homemaker and mom, but also helped with the Dixie School lunch program, worked part time at the Dixie Post Office and served on the Dixie Election Board. She was an active member of Sunshine Rebekah Lodge, Dixie Christian Church and the Dixie Home-Ec. Club. Many women at Dixie sewed for needy babies in the early 1950s. She also volunteered at the Odd Fellows and the Senior Center.

Evidently a woman of unceasing energy, Ilene enjoyed gardening, growing flowers, crocheting and always reading a good book.

She was chosen Queen of Dixie Days in the early 1980s. In 1986, Ilene was named Mother of the Year and received the book, “The Road Unseen.”

Ilene and twin sister Irene were born Aug. 16, 1917, in Prairie View, Kan., to Lee and Alvena Schesser.

The twins attended a country school with all eight grades taught by one teacher. They often rode horses to get there.

After completing eighth grade, she remained at her parents’ home until she was 16. The twins made several quilts which were quilted by the Indians, Glenda added.

Ilene and sister Marie Nickerson of Whittier, Calif., are the last survivors of nine siblings .

In addition to Glenda, Ilene’s children include Jim and Ed Townsend, both of Dixie and the late Dennis Townsend. Ilene also has 13 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, 17 great-great-grandchildren and one great-great-great-grandchild.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

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