National Guard hoping to serve communities in Chilton County

Published 3:11 pm Monday, April 11, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

New Chilton County Army National Guard recruiter Sergeant Sean Gillespie is already making himself at home in his new county.

A member of the national guard since 2011, Gillespie is bringing his vast background in collegiate athletics to his recruiting style. Gillespie formerly worked with the Army Security Forces Assistance Brigade in Fort Benning, Georgia.

“What I want to be able to provide is service for our community, and I think that’s at the heartbeat of the National Guard is service,” Gillespie said. “I think we’re sometimes too aggressive as recruiters taking names instead of trying to figure out how we can serve. Coaching is a common language I’ve known all my life, so going through them and setting up events has been good.”

Gillespie held numerous titles during his time in collegiate athletics from head basketball coach, gameday operations coordinator, to assistant and head athletic director.

Gillespie has been finding success in connecting with the schools in Chilton County by going through their sports coaches. He has set up around 10 events throughout 2022 with the schools and athletic teams starting on April 22 with a cookout and field day at Maplesville High School.

Gillespie and the military engagement team will provide a rock-climbing wall, spider pit, pull up bar, football toss and more activities for students.

“I got into recruiting because I love people,” Gillespie said. “In college athletics, I did a bunch of recruiting, and I enjoyed interacting with young people and being a part of changing some people’s lives if they need that … I like finding those young people that may need some direction, and I truly believe the military could provide that for the right people.”

Gillespie enjoys that the National Guard allows its guardsmen to work and serve their country and communities, but also allow them to live a civilian lifestyle. When a natural disaster like a springtime tornado comes thru, the National Guard is right on the scene to help and serve those affected.

Gillespie recruits largely in the Chilton County high schools, Jefferson State Community College Chilton-Clanton Campus and LeCroy Career Technical Center but is open to anyone who wants more information on the National Guard. The National Guard also offers schools services like life skill seminars, resume writing, interview skill development and more life skills that has to do with future skills they will need.

More of the events the National Guard has planned for 2022 include a football, family and friends’ events at Chilton County High School with their football team on May 20, a team building and leadership camp for the CCHS football team on July 22 and a “Lift-A-Thon” with the Maplesville football team on July 28.

There are also three military appreciation games planned during the football season as well that will honor and highlight veterans. Maplesville’s game will be Sept. 30 followed by Thorsby High School’s game on Oct. 14 and CCHS on Oct. 21.

There is also a fall festival planned on Oct. 27 at Thorsby High School.

Gillespie said everyone in the communities in Chilton County have been very nice and welcoming since starting in the county. He enjoys seeing that a large portion of teachers at schools in Chilton County went to the same school they are teaching in now “helping better their community.”

Gillespie wants his message from the National Guard to the community to be that they are ready to serve and are open to volunteer for any event that is going on in Chilton County.

“When it’s time to do our job, we take that very seriously, but at our heart of the National Guard is how can we help improve our community and who we can partner with,” Gillespie said. “My heart is to give more than to take, by take I mean there’s a job, I’m a recruiter, and we want to recruit solid citizens in the Alabama National Guard, but I’m here to serve and do anything to help us get engaged with the community.”