Brandon Becker | NDAD

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Brandon Becker

Published: Monday, March 11, 2024
Angela and Brandon Becker post outside for a photo
Originally published September of 2021

Angela Becker of New Salem has taken her husband Brandon to multiple 2021 medical and rehabilitation appointments in Bismarck and St. Paul this year with welcomed medical travel assistance from NDAD.

The charitable nonprofit supplies gas cards for Brandon to attend physical therapy sessions in Bismarck twice weekly and also gas cards and lodging assistance for once-a-month trips to a burn center at St. Paul (Minn.) Regions Hospital.

Those NDAD-assisted trips have lacked the high drama and urgency of the Beckers’ late December 2020 Bismarck trip that started it all.

A midnight-hour explosion started by an electrical malfunction in their home’s attached workshop injured Brandon early Dec. 28. A self-employed construction contractor, Brandon had “come in the house, yelling to get the kids out,” Angela recalled. With Brandon aboard, she drove their vehicle from their burning house to her parents’ nearby home, left the children in their care, then the couple rushed to Bismarck.

In the vehicle, Angela, a registered nurse at Elmcrest Manor in New Salem, began to comprehend the seriousness of her husband’s injuries. Brandon’s left leg, part of his right leg and hands had extensive burns.

After more than two hours at Bismarck’s CHI St. Alexis, Brandon was transferred by air ambulance to St. Paul Regions Hospital burn unit.

With burns covering about a quarter of his body, Brandon spent 20 days in the hospital, but his wife couldn’t visit because of COVID-19 restrictions. “We only got to talk on the phone,” she recalled. “It was awful.”

Still, Angela recalled, “the kids were sure proud to tell their classmates what kind of hero their dad was.”

Angela learned about NDAD through Ruth Winckler, a co-worker of 16 years. “She said, ‘Call my daughter. She helps people with medical assistance and stuff like that.” Turns out Ruth’s daughter is Marsha Dupré, NDAD’s Minot-based client services representative for western North Dakota.

Angela said Dupré is easy to work with and regularly follows up to ensure they are getting the NDAD assistance they need. Angela said NDAD assistance wasn’t hard at all to apply for. “It was awesome,” she added.

The Beckers expect to be in a new modular house this fall, with Brandon - still in physical therapy - contributing his skills where he can to get it ready, Angela said.