Belser gives us another reason to be thankful

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

While I was visiting Meadow View Elementary School’s Thanksgiving lunch last week, I received some wonderful news.

Back in late April, I had the unpleasant responsibility of writing about a vehicle wreck involving a Thompson High School student that could have easily been very tragic.

Branden Belser had to be airlifted from the scene on April 30 after his truck overturned on Ridgeview Lake Road off Shelby County 26. When he got to the hospital, doctors discovered he had broken temporal bones in his forehead, a broken shoulder blade and broken collar bones.

After seeing pictures of the wrecked truck — which looked more like a crumpled aluminum can — it’s a miracle that Belser’s injuries were not more severe.

The last I heard, Belser was making steady improvements, and had been released from the hospital a few weeks after the incident.

But while I was interviewing kids, parents and faculty members during the MVES Thanksgiving lunch, I ran into Belser’s mother, Kathy.

I can’t imagine the scare Kathy and her family members got when they saw what was left of Branden’s truck. But luckily, this story has a happy ending.

Kathy Belser told me Branden had made a near-full recovery since being released from the hospital last summer, and was actually set to wrestle with the Thompson High School wrestling team. I will note that Branden has helped the THS wrestling team win state championships over the past two years.

The day after I visited MVES, Branden was set to kick off the team’s season and wrestle his first match since the accident. I look forward to seeing Branden joining his teammates as they lift the 6A state championship trophy again this year.

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, hearing that news from Kathy Belser gave me one more reason to be thankful this year. It’s never fun writing about accidents like that, but I sure do enjoy writing about positive endings.

Neal Wagner is the City Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 17 or by email at