MISSOULA — The Montana Highway Patrol is honoring Trooper Wade Palmer’s colleagues who helped save his life last March after a shootout with an armed suspect.
Trooper Palmer was shot in the head, face, and neck, in an incident that killed two people on March 15. Now, over eight months later, he is able to stand and walk with the help of a trekking pole -- and can say a few words.
Trooper Palmer posed with his wife, and colleagues from the Montana Highway Patrol on Thursday during an awards ceremony for the law enforcement officers who assisted him after he was shot.
It was an emotional day for some as they recalled the night of the shooting. MHP Colonel Tom Butler says he will always remember what hospital staff said to him.
He says he wasn’t sure if Palmer would pull through but eight months later, he’s amazed to see him in such good condition.
“For me personally it’s wonderful. I’ll never forget the conversation I had with the neurologist at [St. Patrick Hospital] the night this happened,” Col. Butler recalled. “To see him walking today is amazing all the way around.”
The ceremony honored law enforcement officers who responded to the shooting, as well as those who have assisted Palmer with his road to recovery. Officers from Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, the Missoula Police Department, and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office were presented with awards.
“It was an award for doing what I’m supposed to do, take care of my people,” said MHP Sgt. Finley who received an award from Montana Attorney General Tim Fox. Sgt. Finley also helped coordinate travel plans and visited the Palmers while Wade was in the hospital in Utah. Now he helps the family with recovery.
“This command [staff] has been phenomenal in the backing of us here at a district level, and [of] us taking care of Wade, which is what were supposed to do,” Sgt. Finley said. “They’re relentless in their support of us.”
Col. Butler says the interagency support the he has observed during this process has been amazing.
“It’s just kind of ingrained in all of us that when somebody’s having a bad day everybody else comes out to help. And we all know we’ll get to return the favor somewhere along the way,” Col. Butler said.
Trooper Palmer's wife Lindsey says they recently returned from Colorado's Craig Hospital for an evaluation. She says Wade is responding well to a new communication app and plan to return for a more intensive program.
Lindsey Palmer is also thanking the community for their prayers and well wishes.
The MHP held a ceremony at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula on Wednesday to thank hospital staff members for their efforts after Palmer was shot.
Below is the text letter provided by Palmer's wife Lindsey:
Update for Trooper Palmer 11/20/19:
Season’s Greetings from the Palmer family to yours. May your holidays be filled with love, laughter, and many fond memories. We have so many things to be grateful for this year, but the biggest blessing of all is that we are able to provide this update on Wade, and that he is still with us for this holiday season.
Wade is receiving wonderful care from the team at St. Patrick Hospital. He continues to make improvements weekly in therapy. Wade is able to say a few small words: yea, no, hi, why, mom and me. He is also working hard on being able to say Mia and CeCe. After six months it is so very nice to be able to hear his voice again.
He is also making improvements in walking. Wade recently got rid of his arm crutch in favor of a trekking pole. He still requires some minimal assistance to make sure he is steady on his feet. Wade’s right arm is slowly starting to move again. His right arm has been a challenge for him.
We recently returned from Colorado where we underwent a week-long evaluation at Craig Hospital. They had many suggestions that we will begin using immediately. One recommendation was a new communication app that he is really responding to. Wade and I were very impressed with what Craig had to offer. We plan to return as soon as possible for a more intensive program.
Wade continues to be in good spirits and enjoys being home with his family.
Thank you to all of you who have said prayers and sent well wishes. They mean so much to us.