SALT LAKE CITY — An Army veteran from Minnesota who broke down in Utah had no idea that his bad day was about to turn into one he will never forget.
For many people, there's nothing like getting away from it all. It's something Troy Blevins has tried to do as often as possible.
"I love this state. I stay in the woods and I ride trails," said Blevins.
He has visited Utah about once a year with his dog, utility terrain vehicle and camper trailer.
An Army veteran from Minnesota camping in Utah broke down along I-15 in Fillmore earlier this week. It may be one of the best things to ever happen to him. This amazing story of people coming together runs tonight on @KSL5TV at 6:00. #ksltvpic.twitter.com/xIiuGSJsBC— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) May 6, 2021
He said the state's remote places helped him mentally, because no one craves peace and quiet like a soldier who has been through so much.
"I have some brothers that I really miss. We used to sit around and talk about just that," said Blevins.
He was on his way until his truck broke down along Interstate 15 in Fillmore.
"I didn't know what I was going to do," said Blevins. "I was literally thinking to myself, 'Am I just going to have to sell everything and just start walking?' I didn't know."
He sold his UTV side-by-side for money to get back home.
Blevins then posted a question to the UTV Utah Facebook page, because it's a group he's been a part of for three years.
"The only thing I asked was 'Does anybody know a long-hauler that's going to Fargo?' That's it," he said.
Bud Bruening, the administrator of the page, saw his post.
"Our group is almost 30,000 members, so it's a big group," said Bruening.
Within a few hours, a bunch of those members started helping. They donated money* for a place to stay.
General RV offered to tow his truck and trailer to Salt Lake City. Premier Auto Care in Midvale offered to fix his truck.
They all said it was the least they could do to thank him for his military service.
"He's had 23 surgeries and spent 16 months at Walter Reed Hospital trying to get his body going again. He did it all for our country," said Bruening. "I get choked up just thinking about it, and then to have the community do what they did? Man, it's pretty awesome."
It only got better with a big surprise.
When Bruening met Blevins for the first time Thursday afternoon, Bruening told him the UTV Utah group raised enough money to buy him a new side-by-side to replace the one he sold when he thought he needed the money to get home.
"No way," said Blevins with tears in his eyes and his voice starting to crack. "Don't do that to me, man. Thank you."
After everything he's been through, Blevins may never really have known how much good there is in the world.
"I don't know what to say," said Blevins. "I don't have the words to tell these people how much gratitude I have — that I am a complete stranger and they helped me."
It just shows that even coming to Utah to get away from it all doesn't mean he's alone.
"I'm going to find a way to pay it forward," he said. "You can bet that."
*KSL.com does not assure that the monies deposited to the accounts will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.