HELENA — Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer retired Monday afternoon after an eight-year career.
Trooper Palmer is taking a medical retirement after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds to the face, head, and neck while searching for a suspect in March of 2019. His survival after such critical injuries has been called miraculous.
On Monday, Palmer, accompanied by his wife and children, received a final send-off from friends and coworkers at Patrol headquarters in Helena.
"Today is bittersweet," said Colonel Tom Butler "On the one hand, we're incredibly thrilled and grateful to have Wade here and are amazed at his progress. On the other hand, no one wants to see a career cut short due to injury," he added.
The Patrol also presented Palmer with the Medal of Valor, its highest honor.
Attorney General Tim Fox said Palmer's road to recovery has been a remarkable lesson in faith and perseverance for all Montanans.
"Wade’s road to recovery has been a remarkable lesson in faith and perseverance for all Montanans," Attorney General Tim Fox said. "The safety and blessings we enjoy today are made possible by the courage and sacrifice of first responders like Wade. On behalf of the Montana Department of Justice, we wish the Palmer family the very best as they focus on continued healing during this next chapter of their lives," Fox added.
In his retirement, Trooper Palmer says he plans to continue to focus his energy on his rehabilitation and spending time with his family.
Next month, the man who plead guilty to shooting Palmer and three others that night will be sentenced for the crimes. Johnathan Bertsch plead guilty to shooting and killing Shelley Hays and for critically wounding Julie Blanchard and her son Casey. Julie would later succumb to her injuries months later.