As the family patriarchs across the nation are preparing to carve turkeys, and as the smells of sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie wafts across the landscape of the country, we stop for this one day to give thought to our blessings.

Stephenville head football coach and Athletic Director Joseph Gillespie didn’t have to think long when asked about the things for which he is most thankful.

“I’m thankful to be where I am,” he said. “The Lord has blessed me. I’ve got a beautiful loving wife that is the rock of my house, the greatest supporter of me.”

Time away from home, taking care of other people’s children, going on scouting trips, watching film, 18-hour work days, seven days a week are a few of the job-related pitfalls of coaches, especially successful coaches.

“It’s hard to be a coach’s wife in a place like this with the expectations that a community like this has,” Gillespie said. “She’s my rock. She raises our family. We’ve got three beautiful kids that I couldn’t be more proud of.”

In his admission that the profession he’s chosen can be hard on his family,  he finds comfort in them, as well as occasional light moments.

“She’s had to raise them on her own, practically,” he said of his wife’s dedication to their children.

‘When Josh and Chelsea were younger and Jake was even smaller, “ he began his story, “during football season they might be out in the yard playing and she would holler, ‘Hey kids, it’ time to eat,' and they’d all run and jump in the car.

“That’s just the life,” he laughed, then returned to his list of things for which he is thankful.

“What a wonderful beautiful job she’s done and how blessed I am.

“We’re blessed to have our health, blessed to have my parents, get to live in this town and be with them, how much they are a part of our lives, my wife’s parents, what a wonderful support system they are for us.”

The coach, in season No. 20 here, counts his fellow coaches and faculty members and their commitment to young people as something for which he is grateful, as well.

“Just being surrounded by coaches and teachers and an administration that truly has a passion for kids,” Gillespie said. “We’re surrounded by a bunch of gentlemen and young ladies on our staff that have found their calling. Their calling is to help raise young men and young women, and we use our platform of athletics.

“It’s not like this everywhere,” he said. “We say that all the time. It isn’t. This is truly a unique community that lives and breathes the success of our youth. That makes for a wonderful town and a wonderful future.”