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Darren, Carrie, Brytni and Sami Mizokami

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07/01/2009 - Darren and Carrie Mizokami have an open door policy at their house. Which means the place is usually full of Brytni (16) and Sami's (14) friends. "We always have a bunch of kiddos at the house," Carrie said, "It's good they feel comfortable being here."

Darren, utility supervisor for the City of Casper Water Department, and Carrie, a nail tech/esthetician at Season's Day Spa have been married nearly 17 years. Darren said they feel their marriage is one of their biggest accomplishments. "We look around at people being married and divorced – it's amazing how many people can't even make it five years anymore," Darren said.

Their marriage, raising their daughters, spending time with friends and family and giving to the community are the Mizokami's highest priorities.

"We enjoy being good role models and stewards for the community," Darren said.

The family attends Highland Park Community Church where the girls have been involved in youth mission projects. The whole family likes to help out when there are local food drives, and they have prepared meals at the Central Wyoming Rescue Mission. Darren has also been involved in the Big Brother program. For fun, the family enjoys going to the lake together or riding roller coasters.

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"We're all four fans of roller coasters," Carrie said. "We just got back from Disney World."

Darren transferred to Casper with his job as a sales director when he was 19. He has now been with the City of Casper for nearly 17 years.

"I feel blessed to have such a good job," he said, "I'm also blessed to be able to help City employees by sitting on various committees."

Darren enjoys working out, having breakfast with his grandma once a week and riding his Harley. Every summer Darren and Carrie hop on his Harley and head to Sturgis for a week. "It's our thing to do together," Carrie said. This summer will be their tenth trip to the annual motorcycle rally.

Carrie, the daughter of Jim and Rheva Dean, was born and raised in Casper. "We're very proud of Carrie's dad," Darren interjected, "for being ordained as a priest in June." Darren further explained that the Mizokami family is very close to Carrie's parents. "They're very instrumental in our lives," Darren said.

Carrie said her main enjoyment is raising her two girls and being with friends and family. "I'm also happy with my new career and driving my car with the top down," she said grinning.

The girls are busy attending high school at Kelly Walsh. Brytni begins her senior year this fall and is trying to decide between pursuing a career as a pharmacist or as a chef.

"Cooking is my passion," she said.

"But not baking," her mom said laughing. "We found that out."

"Yeah, I took a cake decorating class and didn't like it," Brytni said with a wrinkled nose.

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Brytni's favorite classes at Kelly Walsh have been her cooking classes. She sometimes helps with the family meals when her parents are running the family cleaning business. She also works at Sanford's and takes college courses. She is a member of the Honor Society and Student Council. "It pretty much keeps me busy," she said.

Carrie describes her daughter as having a big heart and being very fun.

"I'm a pretty fun person, I'd say," Brytni said.

"Looking," her dad joked. "Actually, she is very loving. She is a big-hearted and soft-spoken person."

The youngest of the Mizokami bunch is Sami, who enters Kelly Walsh as a freshman in the fall. Sami stays busy with sports, church mission trips, choir and school. She recently returned from a trip to Florida with her volleyball team for national tournaments.

"We won some, lost some," she said about how the team did.

Sami's two big events this summer are a trip to Creation Fest with her church youth group and participating in the Miss Teen Wyoming pageant. Her mom describes her as a very nice person.

"Other moms tell me how nice my daughter is," Carrie said.

"We're very blessed," Darren concluded.

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