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story.lead_photo.caption Michelle and Mike Harding with Sooki, a 10-year-old Havanese dog. Photo by Olivia Garrett / Fulton Sun.

This column serves as a spotlight, highlighting the everyday people who work and live in Callaway County. The Fulton Sun takes a moment with someone who is not usually featured in the news but is just as instrumental in making our community the strong and beautiful place we all know and love.

Michelle and Mike Harding live in Fulton. Both grew up in the Mid-Missouri area. Michelle Harding attended the University of Missouri and Mike Harding attended Lincoln University. Both work for the state. They have a 10-year-old Havenese dog named Sooki.

What was your first job?

Michelle: I worked for the Conservation Department in fisheries.

Mike: I washed dishes for a long time. My first real job was at DYS — Missouri Division of Youth Services.

Who inspires you most?

Michelle: I'd have to say in my personal life, it's my family — the women in my family, watching them go through what they go through and conquer it and excel.

Mike: I'm not sure.

Michelle: The truly inspirational everyday person, watching them overcome the challenges that face them.

What is something that you're proud of?

Michelle: We just bought a house. We're pretty proud of that. I guess us being together for eight years now, married two, coming up on three. I'm pretty proud of that.

What in your life has been the most fulfilling?

Michelle: Tuning in to the simple moments. That's really where I find most of my joy.

Mike: I'd go along with that.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?

Michelle: For me, I think it would be teaching — teaching people how to navigate the everyday challenges of life and providing resources. Helping people in everyday life overcome challenges.

Mike: I'd probably be some kind of artist.

Michelle: He plays guitar.

Mike: Not painting or anything like that. Music.

What is a job you wouldn't want to do?

Mike: Retail, customer service — anything like that.

Michelle: I have a lot of experience with that and there's some positive things, but it's also very challenging.

What is your favorite thing about Callaway County?

Michelle: I think it's getting outside. You have the variety of weather and being able to go on all the trails they offer and the river. We like kayaking.

Mike: It's relatively affordable to live here.

Michelle: Also, the history of my family here.

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