Friday, March 1, 2024

Wells Fargo’s veterans program provides car to military hero

A veteran who was medically discharged from the Army after suffering serious injuries in combat has a new car thanks to Military Warriors Support Foundation, Wells Fargo and Mark Ficken Ford Lincoln.

Ben Breckheimer (pronounced Breck Hi Mer) has a remarkable story of persevering not only in service to his country, but also to his family and as a new business owner.

Breckheimer has a lot going on, having started a mobile coffee truck, Avalanche Coffee Company, last year and becoming a father to 5-month-old Ollie, with his wife and business partner, Mallory. 

His compelling backstory led San Antonio-based Military Warriors Support Foundation to pick Breckheimer as a recipient of one of its Transportation4Heroes vehicles. Breckheimer took the keys to his 2022 Ford Escape during the Wells Fargo Championship  at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. Wyndham Clark won the tournament Sunday for his first PGA win.

Wells Fargo donates a 2022 Ford Escape from Mark Ficken Ford Lincoln through the Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Transportation4Heroes program to Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ben Breckheimer at the Wells Fargo Championship on May 4, 2023 in Charlotte, N.C. (Nell Redmond/AP Images for Wells Fargo)

While the Wells Fargo Championship took place under near-perfect conditions, Beckheimer’s story is one of ups and downs. The Wisconsin native joined the Army in 2002, motivated by the Sept. 11 attacks. He at first served in combat support hospitals as an operating room specialist and reclassified into combat arms in the 2nd Infantry Division.

During his second combat deployment, he was injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Due to his injuries, he was medically retired in 2013 as an Army staff sergeant after being awarded a Purple Heart, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and more than a dozen other medals and ribbons.

Breckheimer would undergo dozens of surgeries over the next four years to save his leg. He overcame post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to his physical injuries, which included the fusing of his right ankle at 90 degrees.

Since 2015, Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Transportation4Heroes program hasworked with companies across the country to award more 150 vehicles – over 80 of those with Wells Fargo. In addition to a car, Wells Fargo will provide Breckheimer with a year of financial counseling.

Being involved in the program is another way to help military veterans transition to civilian life, says Sean Passmore, a retired Army veteran who leads the Military and Veterans Initiatives program for Wells Fargo from San Antonio.

“We’re always there to focus some resources for veterans who are transitioning to civilian lives and the challenges they’re going to face,” says Passmore. That help also includes programs to hire veterans and work with those who want to start businesses after leaving the military.

Breckheimer now has a mobile coffee truck, but hopes to soon operate a brick and mortar shop in the Charlotte area near his home. He live in nearby Tega Cay, South Carolina.

Avalanche’s turquoise truck moves from place to place, and also caters special events. Customers can go online to find its location, although on Monday the truck is scheduled to be at Charlotte Surgery Center at 2825 Randolph Road, Charlotte.

The Avalanche name stems from Breckheimer’s love of the outdoors and his achievements. After recovering from his injuries, Breckheimer set out to climb the famed Seven Summits, the tallest mountain on each continent. On June 13, 2021, Breckheimer reached the top of Mount Denali in Alaska, achieving his goal and setting a world record by becoming the first Purple Heart recipient to accomplish the feat. He had already conquered Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Mount Aconcagua, Vinson Massif and Puncak Jaya.

Breckheimer is working on a book and has a dream of skiing to the North and South Poles, w. Right now, though, his priority is to be a husband and father.

I hope that one day Ollie can look up to me. I want to show him the world,” Breckheimer told the foundation.


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