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Returning Serviceman Surprised with Fixed-Up SUV: Helps Bring ’87 Blazer Back to Life

By on March 10, 2013

Brian - Brittany - Ben and Blazer wideshot - edited

Carson, CA – March 14, surprised returning serviceman Staff Sergeant Ben Sorensen by fixing up his beloved 1987 Chevy Blazer. With family, friends, “Welcome Home” signs, American flags, balloons, four news crews, the Salt Lake City daily newspaper, and a film crew from local Weber State University’s Studio 76 on hand just as he arrived home from duty, presented SSG Sorensen with his newly running Chevy Blazer and a gift certificate for future tinkering.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Staff Sergeant Sorensen. “I’ve wanted this truck ever since I was young and got it right before I went on a tour to Iraq. I didn’t have time to fix it between deployments, but it’s fixed now so I don’t have to worry. I am so thankful to, Dave’s Complete Auto Service, and everyone involved — especially my wife Brittany — for making this all happen.”

Photo of Blazer and staging - edited

The ‘87 Blazer, nicknamed ‘The Blaze’, was purchased by Sorensen to go off-roading and rock climbing but was also needed by the young couple as a daily driver. Sorensen was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan when received an email from his wife, Brittany Sorensen, in November 2012 explaining that his vehicle needed major repairs just to run. She asked the company if there was anything it “could do to help make his dream come true?” jumped at the opportunity to thank SSG Sorensen for his service to the country. The company arranged for the vehicle to be repaired (with labor donated by Dave’s Complete Auto Service of Layton, UT), donated all the parts and added a gift certificate as well.

“Auto parts are our specialty at and we were honored to have the opportunity to thank Staff Sergeant Sorensen for his dedication and service to our country by making his Chevy Blazer roadworthy again,” said Brian Hafer of

“This is going to be one of those stories we tell for the rest of our lives,” said Brittany Sorensen wife of Staff Sergeant Sorensen. “We are just so grateful and thankful that was able to make a dream come true for Ben.”

Weber University’s Studio 76, a student-operated video production team, filmed the surprise. Click play to watch the video below:

Brian presenting Gift Certificate to Ben - edited

*See below for the full text of Brittany Sorensen’s email to

My husband is currently deployed to Afghanistan with the Special Forces. He purchased a 1987 K5 Blazer 3 years ago and has been slowly working on it ever since. He is having a lot of trouble finishing up his truck due to back-to-back yearlong deployments. During May 2010, he was called on by his country to serve in Iraq with the 19th Special Forces Group. He returned home in May 2011 with the hopes of being able to finish up his Blazer (which he nick named “The Blaze”). However, he was not home long enough to get a whole lot done. He was once again called upon by his country to serve with the Special Forces. He was notified during December 2011 that he would be leaving home again for another year, this time to Afghanistan. He is in currently Kandahar province, which is one of the most dangerous areas in the country. We only get the chance to communicate once a week, due to harsh conditions the he weathers every day for his country and to protect those he loves. It would be a dream come true for both him and myself if I were able to have his truck fixed by the time he returns. Unfortunately, we do not have the financial ability to fix up his Blazer. Just today I was notified of yet another 400 dollar fix we need just to get the Blaze registered. My husband has seen a lot of darkness and hard times, I want to show him that there is still good in the world. Is there anything you could do to help make his dream come true?

If you know of a service member who has a great story about their special vehicle need, we would love to hear from you. Just send an email to


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Media Relations
Melanie Webber , mWEBB Communications, (424) 603-4340,
Angela Jacobson , mWEBB Communications, (714) 454-8776,

Check out the gallery below for more photos of APW’s big surprise to Staff Sergeant Ben Sorensen!

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