SMALL TOWNS PREVIEW: A view of American history through a presidential secretary

Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 8:01 AM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Irene Derus of Oshkosh knows the White House well. She’s served as secretary for four United States presidents.

In Thursday’s Small Towns on Action 2 News at 6, Jeff Alexander introduces us to Irene and her mark on American history.

Irene grew up in Oshkosh. She graduated from Marquette University in 1962. She spent several years as a drama teacher.

One summer, her older sister invited her to Washington, D.C. Within two years, Irene was the personal secretary for then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Irene helped draft the Paris Peace Accords to end the war in Vietnam. She traveled the world with presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Her favorite boss was President Reagan.

“And every time he passed by my desk, good morning Irene, how are you today?”

We follow Irene’s amazing journey to the White House in Small Towns with Jeff Alexander on Action 2 News at 6.

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