Breckenridge man honored after saving couple from burning car days before Thanksgiving

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Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 8:27 PM CST
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BRECKENRIDGE, M.N. (Valley News Live) - Two weeks after pulling an elderly couple out of their burning vehicle near Wahpeton, saving them, a Minnesota man has been honored for his bravery and heroism.

“The city council thanks you for your brave actions and are proud to have you represent the city of Breckenridge,” City of Breckenridge Mayor Russ Wilson said while reading a proclamation Monday.

It was a full house at the Breckenridge City Coucil meeting Monday; All but three chairs were filled by Jared Hoechst’s family who were there to cheer on the man credited with saving two lives just days before Thanksgiving. You can read the original story here.

“It’s pretty neat, I can’t deny that. Definitely something to hang on the wall,” Hoechst said of his new plaque.

On his way to Fargo on Nov. 20, Hoechst came across the crash off I-29 and Highway 13 where, both in their 70s, Alberta and Korre Bratland were trapped inside as their vehicle burst into flames. Hoechst served as a paramedic for just six months in Lisbon, N.D. before he moved on to something new, but that short-lived training paid off.

“I was a fireman and first responder for 23 years, and you’d like to think you’d do the same, but you never know until it happens,” Mayor Wilson said.

Although the Bratlands and their family, and now the city of Breckenridge all consider Hoechst a hero, he says he still doesn’t agree. Hoechst says he was just doing his part.

“I would hope anybody would do the same thing,” Hoechst said.

He says he still has yet to meet the couple he pulled from the blaze, but says he can’t wait to do so as he says that will be when the reality of his actions really sinks in.

The Bratlands are no longer in the hospital, as they are now recovering from the crash in transitional care in West Fargo. Their family says they would have loved to attend this “much deserved event,” and say they “would like to thank Jared again for his actions that, no doubt, saved the lives of Korre and Alberta.”