(DOUG JESSOP’S JESSOP’S JOURNAL – ABC4 NEWS – PROVO, UT) K-A-U- “F as in Frank” – U-S-I. Michelle Kaufusi laughed and told me that is how she taught her five children to tell people how to spell their last name.
Michelle and her husband former NFL player and U of U and BYU Coach, Steve Kaufusi, have two daughters, three sons, two grandsons and coming soon a new granddaughter. All three of her sons play football.
Among other things, we talked about this football thing in the family. Michelle laughed and said, “They’re just good eaters, right?!” She told me about the grocery shopping trips she would make where one cart was entirely filled with meat. The Beef Council must be thrilled with the Kaufusi family. That’s some serious protein.
She continued; “I’m not athletic. They get all their talent from their dad. I’m really a good cook and I’m really good at schedules, that’s what I gave to them. But all five children were so blessed. They all went to college on athletic scholarship. Bronson is with Green Bay right now and Corbin is in San Francisco with the 49ers. Bronson is a tight end now. Catches the ball and run. And Corbin in an offensive lineman.
I asked Michelle if she were to be a football player, what position she would play. She quipped; “I think I’m kind of bossy, so probably the quarterback.”
Michelle is a quarterback of sorts. We met when I was doing a Utah Success Stories news feature on the first A-class office space in Provo in over a decade called “Freedom Commons.” She stood out in a bright red dress on a rainy day in the shadow of a mountain with a big Y on the hill. The Y stands for Brigham Young University and the school color is blue. The color red is the school color for rival University of Utah. I couldn’t help but tease her. You see, she happens to be the first female mayor of Provo.
Her youngest son, Devin Kaufusi, is a college football player. He recently changed school colors from blue to red. Michelle filled me in with the backstory. “Devin has had this great group of friends his whole life and his best friend is Britain Covey so there’s your little tie there, right. So Steve is finishing up coaching twenty-five years and looking forward to retirement, Devin’s in his second year at BYU. Steve retires and our cute little Britty is at our house all the time and in Devin’s ear saying now that your dad and brothers are done come up to the U and finish with me.”
What you might not know about Michelle is the humble beginnings she came from. She was the sixth of seven children raised by a single mom. She was very open about the circumstances. (I’m not going to tell you about the details in the article – you’ll need to watch the full video interview for that).
She did relate a touching story about her first job. “My mom came home, and she drove a Chevy citation. She needed snow tires to get to work at night and they were super expensive, and she didn’t have the money so she asked us all to help and so I went to Provo High as you know. I got done with school and I thought I’m going to walk down Center street in Provo because it had to be somewhere I could walk since we only had one car with eight of us. And I went down to Center street, and I walked up and down Center street and there was a sign that said help wanted. From that day on I worked every day after school from four til nine. I closed the deli every day. So this is the tender part right. I can see that store right here. My mom would be so proud.”
Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that enjoys a powerful and positive story.
Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com
Jessop’s Journal episodes are sponsored content made possible by the generous support of JW Custom Hats, Ogden’s Own Distillery, XLEAR, Rustico and Tailor Cooperative. More episodes of Jessop’s Journal can be seen at www.ABC4.com/Journal