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At home in Mitchell, Weier family appreciates opportunity, safety

The Weiers, including Aleyse, Chris, Cole, Collin, Amy and Ashlyn. (Photo credit Maddie Peschong Photography)

Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing our neighbors and the individuals who live and/or work in Mitchell.

When Amy (Peschong) Weier was in high school, she didn't envision living in Mitchell.

"I was always planning to move far, far away," she said.

But now she and her husband, Chris, cannot imagine raising their family anywhere else.

"When we started our family, we felt the lure of raising our kids here, rather than in Sioux Falls," said Chris.

Chris, a native of Platte, came to Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell as an education major in the '90s, and he played basketball and football. Following graduation, he spent 16 years teaching math and coaching.

Amy, from Mitchell, attended college and physical therapy school at the University of South Dakota. It was during a summer home from college that she and Chris met. They married in 2000, and lived in Sioux Falls, each of them commuting in different directions.

It was Amy's late mother who played an important role in their move back to Mitchell.

"My mom was the secretary at the high school," said Amy. "She kept her eyes open and called when she heard about an opening that would suit Chris in the Mitchell school system. I was able to find a PT position at University Physical Therapy, so we moved home to Mitchell."

The Weiers and their three children lived in Amy's parents' basement for four months until they found a home of their own.

"It was a blessing in disguise," said Chris. "Amy got to spend a lot of time with her mom before she got sick."

"I feel like it was God's plan," said Amy. "Because we were in Mitchell, I got to visit my mom on my lunch hours and whenever I had free time during her cancer battle."

Amy's mom died in 2010.

Since their move to Mitchell in 2008, the family has experienced many changes. They added a fourth child to their family, which consists of Ashlyn, 15, Cole, 14, Collin, 10 and 7-year-old Aleyse. Amy now works for Avera Therapy. And Chris, who worked as an insurance adjuster for 10 years during the summers when he was a teacher and coach, went full time with Farmers Mutual of Nebraska six years ago.

Chris misses some aspects of teaching and coaching, but the family rewards have been worthwhile.

"I have great flexibility, which has allowed me to coach our kids in sports," he said. "And I pick them up from school most days."

The Weiers also spend much of their free time with extended family, and both sides are well-represented in Mitchell and nearby.

Amy's dad and stepmom, as well as two of her six siblings and their families, live in Mitchell. And Chris's parents come to town regularly because he has a brother who is a client of LifeQuest.

The Weiers' family life is full. Their kids are involved in everything from basketball to cheer, and they appreciate the opportunities.

"Mitchell is small enough that kids can try everything, whether in sports or the arts," said Amy. "In a larger community, it seems like only the best of the best can participate."

Mitchell's size also offers an amenity that is invaluable to the Weiers: Safety.

"It's great that our kids can ride their bikes just like we did as kids," said Chris. "It's OK that we can't really be anonymous in a town the size of Mitchell. The benefits of personal connections and safety are worth it."

The Weiers are fans of Mitchell Kernel and DWU Tiger athletics, and they appreciate the recreational opportunities in Mitchell.

"We really take advantage of the park and rec programs," said Amy. "And our park system, with hiking and bike trails, provides good opportunities to get outdoors with our family."

Nearly 11 years after giving in to the lure of Mitchell, the Weiers are still happy to call it home.