MONETT, Mo. — Last week, the Monett community lost someone near and dear to its heart. Brandon Wellbaum made an impact on a whole lot of people.
The 48-year-old was killed in a traffic accident last Thursday. His funeral was held today. And if you’re a tow truck driver in the four states, his name is probably familiar to you.
Brandon Wellbaum was well known in the towing service community, in southwest Missouri and beyond.
“There was not very many people around Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas that did not know him. And what you know him of, he’s the nicest guy you would of ever met,” said James Gage – Autorama Tow Truck Driver.
Wellbaum was a third generation owner of “Autorama” — a tire, towing, sales and service company in Monett. He was loved for more than providing service in all hours of the day, but always having a smile on his face.
“Brandon was the type of guy that if you were having a bad day he’d make you smile before you go out. He was always there to help the community, he was always there to help anybody. He’s the one that gave me my first chance,” said James Wogoman – R & J Auto, Towing & Recovery.
So when the news came out about his passing, along with friends and family… 60 tow truck drivers from around the country came for the service.
“In the towing world and you put this uniform on and you get in that truck, no matter what, we’re all brothers and sisters. So when one of our brothers fall, we all come,” said Wogoman.
“It’s really amazing to see how many people have come from just all over this area of Missouri alone to come see him and say their final respects for him,” said Gage.
After the service, a convoy of tow truck drivers traveled from the Church of the Nazarene to Autorama.
After talking to numerous people at the service, all of them agreed that Wellbaum was one of the nicest people they’d ever met.