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OPINION: Built from the ground up

EDITOR'S NOTE: Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the personalities that call Mitchell home. If you have suggestions for individuals or families with a great story, please ...

Joe and Katie Score are pictured with their children, Alexis and Mason. (Photo courtesy of Robin Haiar/Birdseye Imagery)
Joe and Katie Score are pictured with their children, Alexis and Mason. (Photo courtesy of Robin Haiar/Birdseye Imagery)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the personalities that call Mitchell home. If you have suggestions for individuals or families with a great story, please contact Jacki Miskimins at 996-1140.

Joe Score got an early start toward his career. In Canton High School, where he graduated in 2007, he took nearly every shop-type class available; his senior year, over half of his courses involved hands-on work. One of those courses was a combined class on plumbing and electrical work, and it was that class that set him on the path to his career-and to Mitchell, where he is now a job foreman at Muth Electric.

But long before he stepped into that classroom, he'd already learned about the value of work.

"I was brought up with the understanding that if I wanted something, I had to work for it," Score said.

At 17, already eyeing his future after high school, Score brought a National Guard recruiter to his parents.

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"The way I saw it, they could sign me in at 17 or I'd do it myself after my birthday," he said. His parents agreed, and he completed basic training in the summer before his senior year.

In 2008, he enrolled in the electrical construction and maintenance program at Mitchell Technical Institute, where the two-year timeframe and 2,000-hour credit to a future journeyman's exam appealed to him (an electrician must have 8,000 hours of experience to sit for the licensing exam). Never one to sit still, he also worked full-time at Pizza Ranch to pay for the expenses his military tuition assistance didn't cover. And in 2010, he graduated with a job offer at Muth Electric and not a single dollar of debt.

It was during his time at MTI that he also met his wife, Katie. Originally from the area, Katie was attending school for business management and is now a teller/personal banking representative at First Dakota National Bank. The two married in 2011, welcoming their daughter, Alexis, in 2012, and son, Mason, earlier this year.

The Scores are happy to have made their careers with good companies in Mitchell. Joe, in particular, has appreciated the flexibility he's found at Muth. This December will mark 10 years since he joined the National Guard, and his tenure includes a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013, as well as a three-month domestic mission battling flooding in 2011. In both instances, the company worked to accommodate him.

"It was no questions asked; 'let us know when you're coming back. Stay safe and stay in touch.' I never once worried that my job wouldn't be waiting for me when I came home," he said.

Not every decision was so easy. After Joe's return from Afghanistan, the family heavily considered moving to Sioux Falls.

"I grew up in Canton, so I spent a lot of time in Sioux Falls. And I still like it there-they have more family centric amenities and events," he explained. "But you look at the recent years, and it's always hectic, always busy, crime seems to have gone up. It just feels more dangerous. Mitchell gives us a feeling of a safer environment for our kids."

Katie agrees.

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"Yes, my family is here, and it's great to have that support system," she said. "But we also really like our jobs and like Mitchell. It's a big enough community that we have different options, but it's small enough to give us that feeling of being safe and knowing our neighbors."

The couple admit that with two small children, they don't get out much.

"But we do enjoy having friends over for dinner, and we cook out a lot," Joe said with a laugh. Doing so puts to good use the new front and back porch Joe built with Katie's father-built by hand, of course.

It's a good life for a great young family with bright futures, young kids and solid careers-built from the ground up.

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