Joe Thomas Sr.
The son of sharecroppers, and the 4th of 12 children, Joe grew-up in poverty, and school was a struggle for him.
But in high school, Joe was a very good football player, although like most high school players, his playing career ended when he graduated.
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Over the years, Joe got married, he and his wife had a son, Joe Jr. and Joe Sr. built a profitable construction business.
But during the Great Recession of recent years, Joe's business crashed, and he went bankrupt.
Yet ever the optimist, at age 51, Joe decided to get a college education and begin a new career.
He joined his son Joe Jr. at South Carolina State University, and as a walk-on tried to join his son on the football team as well.
Joe's son, who is now a Green Bay Packers linebacker, was a star. But not Joe Sr.. In practice, Joe Sr. took the field against players about 35-years-younger than himself.
A football player in his 50's no longer has the speed or reflexes he did in his youth and there was concern that Joe could be injured.
Yet he persevered.
This season after four years of never playing in a game, during South Carolina State's last game of the season, against Savannah State, the coach put Joe in the game at running back.
On his first carry, Joe ran for three yards, and he would carry the ball three more times, for a net loss of one yard.
South Carolina State won the game 32 to 0, and in front of the cheering crowd, Joe's teammates carried him off the field and awarded him the game ball.
"I always said," Joe remarked, "Never give up on your dreams."
"It's a great day for me," Joe added, "But I must admit, I didn't think my situation would generate so much attention and so much positive response."
To see Joe in that game in a 49 second video, please click here.