HEBER CITY, Utah — The journey home for one United States Army veteran from Minnesota seemed to hit a costly roadblock until the Utah UTV community stepped in to help.
Earlier this month, Troy Blevins’ truck broke down near the town of Fillmore. He faced a $16,000 bill for repairs.
“Truck just started bucking like I blew out the front tire. White smoke rolling out of it. The engine was gone,” Blevins said. “I felt as dejected as I have in 10 years. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who to call. I didn’t have nobody.”
Blevins decided to sell his off-road vehicle to help cover the cost of his truck’s engine. He also shared his story with a Facebook group called “UTV Utah.”
Bud Bruening, President of UTV Utah, spread the word to others in UTV Utah about Troy's situation.
After that, members of the Facebook group flooded Blevins with donations - enough for a new engine and a whole lot more.
Local businesses volunteered to take things from there. First, General RV Center towed the truck and trailer to Salt Lake City from Beaver. Premiere Complete Auto Care installed the engine for free. KR Detail even detailed Troy's truck, to make it like new. Several other businesses helped out in other ways as well.
“It turned into a big snowball effect,” Blevins said.
His unexpected journey took him to Heber City Saturday, where Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone joined the cause.
"The Mailman," who owns several car and motorsports dealerships in Utah, delivered Blevins a new side-by-side purchased with more than $20,000 in donations from UTV Utah.
“Sir, on behalf of everyone walking this planet, particularly today in Heber, Utah, we want to salute you,” Malone said to Blevins.
After presenting Blevins with the keys, Malone explained why he felt this gesture was important.
“Warriors are the ones who do it. They face the enemy no matter what,” Malone said to the crowd of nearly 200.
Malone’s speech focused on thanking those who serve - including police, first responders and members of the military.
“When you have the opportunity to see someone in uniform, first responder, just go say, 'Thanks,'" Malone said.
Blevins will soon head home to Minnesota. After this unexpected journey through Utah, he now feels like he has a second home, and family with the UTV Utah community.
“Insane. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in probably 90 percent of the world,” Blevins said. “But in Utah, you can’t put it past any of these people.”