MISSOULA – It’s not the end of the saga, but it’s the beginning of a new chapter in the recovery story for Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer who was shot multiple times outside of Missoula in March.
Palmer’s medical condition is in significantly better standing on his return to Montana compared to his emergency flight to university hospital in Salt Lake City.
People gathered outside the North Star Aviation Hangar Wednesday to welcome and show support for Palmer as he continues on his journey through recovery.
“I want to stress just how incredible the individuals in law enforcement, first responders fire service, individuals at the hospital there, all the staff and indeed the entire state of Utah responded to Trooper Palmer’s needs and his family’s needs,” Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Incredible ways that I wish I could describe them all, but it’s almost impossible to fathom. If you had been there the day that I was first there when Wade was admitted to the hospital and saw the condition he was in and you see him now, you would absolutely be amazed at the progress he has made.”
The turnout for Palmer’s procession through Missoula and Stevensville was heartwarming, according to the head of MHP.
“Today, coming back down Broadway when we left back on March 15th to see the people standing out there for a little impromptu motorcade. To see the silent majority standing there alongside Broadway today when we came back in is very very heartwarming to see. I’m just really glad he’s home,” said Colonel Tom Butler, MHP Chief.
Onlookers say Palmer was all smiles for his return trip.
“When we walked into that hospital room today, Wade was smiling ear to ear he knew he was going to be reunited with his girls, that he was going to be home, that he was going to see his trooper colleagues and his friends and see familiar faces and places. And while he couldn’t communicate with speech, his smile alone and his upbeat attitude swelled my heart, and I’m sure everyone else’s in the room,” Fox added.
Reporting by Connor McCauley for MTN News