Mission Accomplished: Texas Army Veteran Completes 2010 Contenders Football Quest

Late Monday night, well past closing time, I got an email from Charlie DiPietro, the longtime owner of Sports Cards Plus in San Antonio, regarding one of his loyal customers who had just accomplished a most daunting task: Assembling a master set of 2010 Contenders Football. But as you're about to discover, overcoming tough odds is nothing new for U.S. Army veteran Benjamin Breckheimer.

Panini America Breckheimer 1

With the latest installment of the legendary Contenders Football brand burning up the collecting marketplace right now, we found the timing of an email we received earlier this week from Charlie DiPietro, the longtime owner of Sports Cards Plus in San Antonio, to be absolutely impeccable. It came late Monday night, well past closing time, and detailed the mission-completed accomplishment of loyal customer Benjamin Breckheimer.

But as you’re about to discover, overcoming tough odds — in this case assembling a master set of 2010 Contenders Football — is nothing new for Breckheimer, a veteran U.S. Army Cavalry Scout. Thanks to the deft journalistic abilities of DiPietro, you can read Breckheimer’s story and see some of his sweet cards after the jump.

By Charlie DiPietro

SAN ANTONIO — Benjamin Breckheimer is a collector with a purpose. About 13 months ago he set out to complete a set of 2010 Contenders Football autographs and today, I believe you’ll agree he is 100 percent successful. Breckheimer is a Cavalry Scout in the United States Army, stationed at Fort Sam Army Base in San Antonio. For more than two years he has been busy with several surgeries and rehabilitation, having been wounded in action on September 13, 2009, in Afghanistan. Breckheimer also served in Iraq from 2005 to 2006.

Ben started his project by busting 2010 Contenders Football boxes at Sports Cards Plus, trading his extras with other collectors at our store until he decided he needed to search outside the San Antonio area. He found searching the Internet for missing pieces of his 2010 Contenders Football project rewarding. Now, about 13 months after he started the project, Breckheimer can say, “Mission complete.”

Breckheimer’s 2010 Contenders Football project includes the base set, all of the base insert sets and the complete Rookie Ticket autograph subset with both variation poses of each player. He also has completed the Rookie Ink insert. Breckheimer says he is especially proud of the fact that he has completed six of the eight known Tim Tebow inscription autos, missing only the “25th Pick” inscription auto and the “06/08 Champs” inscription auto. Breckheimer also has secured the base Aaron Hernandez autographs along with three different inscriptions.


12 Replies to “Mission Accomplished: Texas Army Veteran Completes 2010 Contenders Football Quest”

  1. Outstanding accomplishment and very well documented, thanks for your service and congrats on the set. And thanks as always Tracy for bringing it to us!

  2. Yet another wonderful story!
    I have Kidney Disease and can relate to the motivation behind Benjamin’s ambitious project. Permitting chronic illness or injury to dictate the terms of one’s life is not an option. Immersing oneself in a hobby or some other healthy pursuit, however, is an ideal stratagem for contending with such a crappy hand.
    Outstanding, Mr. Breckheimer, truly outstanding.

  3. Congrats, impressive! Thanks for your service, much appreciateed! I love the contender set. I have every rookie ticket auto since 2006. Working on the 2005 and now the 2012!

  4. After over three years of surgeries and rehab, Benjamin is now able to walk without crutches or even a cane. He is now doing well enough that he has decided to fulfill his dream of climbing 7 famous summits. In doing so, he will also raise money for Children’s Leukemia Research. Last month, Benjamin founded the Live 7 Summits Foundation. The information below is from the Live 7 Summits Facebook Page:

    The goal of Live 7 Summits is to raise money by climbing up the highest peaks in the world, including the infamous 7 Summits as well as donating a portion of money raised to Children’s Leukemia Research.

    Live 7 Summits is founded by United States Army Cavalry Scout Sergeant and Wounded Warrior, Benjamin James Breckheimer.

    Benjamin is an Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veteran.
    On September 13, 2009 in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan his world changed. While operating his Stryker vehicle in Afghanistan his convoy hit a(n) pressure plate Improvised Explosive Device or IED which caused traumatic injuries to his lower extremities.
    Wounds sustained were a concussion, perforated eardrum, L5 and S1 vertebrae fractures, right pelvic fracture, left and right femur fractures, a partially severed lower right leg as well as multiple right foot and toe fractures.
    Miraculously his lower right leg was saved through limb salvage and since he has undergone multiple surgeries and vigorous physical therapy and still to this day is recovering in San Antonio, TX at the Warrior Transition Battalion in Ft. Sam Houston.

    His dream growing up, for as long as he can remember, was to successfully summit the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest. Since his injury this has become more than just a dream for him. He wants to prove not only to himself, but to everyone that you can accomplish anything as long as you put your entire heart into it and to never, ever give up.
    After keeping in contact with family and friends his dreams and goals expanded to climbing the infamous 7 Summits and raising money by doing so for Children’s Leukemia Research.

    7 Summits:
    Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia 7,310
    Vinson Massif, Antarctica 16,060
    Mt. Elbrus, Europe 18,510
    Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa 19,341
    Mt. McKinley (Denali), North America 20,320
    Mt. Aconcagua, South America 22,831
    Mt. Everest, Asia 29,035
    The goal of Live 7 Summits is to raise money by climbing up the highest peaks in the world, including the infamous 7 Summits as well as donating a portion of money raised to Children’s Leukemia Research all while following the Leave No Trace for Outdoor Ethics.

    Upcoming Climbs:
    June 30-July 3, 2013 – Mt. Olympus, WA 7,929 (2,417m)
    July 20-21, 2013 – Mt. Baker, WA 10,781 (3,286m)
    July 6-10, 2013 Mt. Rainier, WA 14,411 (4,392m)
    July 19-Aug. 7, 2013 – Mt. Elbrus, Russia 18,510 (5,642m) (PENDING)
    Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa 19,341 (5,895m) (PENDING)

    Upcoming Events:
    February 26, 2013 – Warriors to the Workforce San Antonio, TX
    March 4-8 Special Olympics San Antonio, TX (Volunteer)
    June 22-23, 2013 – 7 Summits Adventure Race Seattle, WA
    July 6-10, 2013 – Mountain Gurus Mountaineering Course
    August 8-11, 2013 – No Barriers Summit Telluride, CO
    Nov. 9-10, 2013 – 7 Summits Adventure Race Austin, TX
    Dec. 7-8 – 7 Summits Adventure Race Orlando, FL

  5. Awesome Set and Congrats on getting so much done with it. Love the variations of the autographs and the rookie ink’s look great too. This is a huge deal for us collectors, I’m personally working on Prizm football chase like the story above. Its a great way to put together some great memories and show what you really are into and love. Congrats again, and hope to see you score some more awesome Contenders cards to make your Pc even better.

  6. Thank you all for your kind words! Panini is a top notch company and I love their product. Keep it up!

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