Q3 Contracting has been tearing up the town and the West Sherburne Tribune parking lot recently, laying new gas pipesthrough Big Lake to Becker for Xcel Energy. The crew, led by Dave Allen, was supervised on site by Joe Wood, originally from Arkansas, lately from Central Iowa. At 78, Wood works because he chooses to, not because he has to. Wood chose his path in life when he was 17. “I always did all right in school but I decided to quit and go to Wisconsin to lay pipe,” Wood said. Joe hitched a ride on a radish truck and made his way north to start work. “I got paid $1.25 per hour. That was big money for a 17-year old back then,” he said. Laying pipe for 61 years has taken Wood all over the country. Sometimes he was away from home for whole years at a time, which he admits is hard on family life. “I have been in all the 48 states,” he said. “These days I think you have to have an education or find something you like to do and just stick with it.” In the meantime, he tried other ventures, including owning a trucking company. A pipe line company he started in Iowa in the early 1990s with a couple of partners was bought out by an Iowa utility company a few years later for a good price. “I never smoked or drank,” said Joe, who started exercising at the gym after surgery at 60 years old. Wood and his wife both exercise regularly and take vitamin supplements. “I usually join a gym as soon as I come to town,” he said. “I get around pretty well for 78. I work for Q3 Construction because they are friends of mine. Theirs is a great story.” Wood was concerned about the Q3 Construction crew, Travis Renzelman, Truman Jensen, Mike Nickerson, Erick Miller and Allen, who worked through the nights and the weekends to get the job done in time to go home for the holiday. “It’s an eight inch gas pipe under there,” he said. “That will give the City of Becker much greater access.” The natural gas is purchased in Texas or Louisiana and piped all over the country, Wood said. “They don’t get a lot of recognition for the work they do,” he said.