HELENA — Montana Highway Patrol leaders honored three troopers Wednesday with the department’s highest award.
At a ceremony in Helena, Attorney General Austin Knudsen and MHP Col. Steve Lavin presented Troopers Alex Hiday and Connor Wager and Sgt. Jerril Ren with the Medal of Valor. The medal recognizes troopers who show heroism above and beyond their duty.
Hiday was recognized for providing lifesaving medical attention to Trooper Wade Palmer after he was shot near Missoula in March 2019. After helping take Palmer to the hospital, Hiday returned to the scene and helped locate the suspect. Palmer – himself a Medal of Valor winner – retired last year as he continues his recovery.
Ren and other law enforcement officers were part of a high-speed chase with a homicide suspect from Flathead County. When the pursuit ended near Woods Bay, the suspect shot at Ren and a county sheriff’s deputy. Both officers fired back, killing the suspect.
Wager rescued a woman from a submerged vehicle after a rollover crash near Emigrant in January. He jumped into the Yellowstone River tied to a rope, then broke the rear window with a rescue tool to get the driver out.
“I had a company commander while I was in the military that said, anytime you receive an award, it’s not just you receiving it, it’s everyone,” Wager told MTN. “So really, this award is everyone that helped out that day. Nothing could have been possible without everyone else’s help.”
Knudsen thanked the troopers for their actions.
“We see your professionalism and desire to keep our state safe in standout acts like the ones you have been recognized for today, and the routine interactions that happen every day across the state of Montana,” he said.