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At a somber ceremony Thursday, Missoula law enforcement paid tribute to a trooper who came close to giving his life in his service for the Montana Highway Patrol.

A shooting in the early hours of March 15 left Wade Palmer in critical condition, with three gunshot wounds to his head and neck. The attack on Palmer came after he responded to a shooting in Missoula that left a 28-year-old man dead and mother and son wounded. When Palmer located the suspect’s vehicle near Evaro, bullets ripped into his cruiser.

His condition has since stabilized and he is recovering in a Salt Lake City hospital. Since the shooting, fundraisers have earned more than $180,000 for the Palmer family, which includes a wife and two children.

Although Palmer survived his injuries, his sacrifice earned him special recognition, and a moment of silence, during the Missoula Law Enforcement Memorial Remembrance and Celebration Ceremony.

Keynote speaker Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney offered his gratitude and condolences to the families of Missoula’s fallen police officers during the ceremony at Rose Park. He celebrated the lives of 11 men who died while serving the city and the county, members of both the Missoula Police Department and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

“These officers didn’t know that this was their last day on earth, and they served anyway. Despite knowing the risk, they continued to serve,” he said.

In all, 129 Montana police officers have died while on duty, the majority from gunfire.

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For the past 19 years, officers have gathered in the Rose Memorial Garden to pay tribute to those officers who fell in the line of duty. Across the country, politicians, police and families have all paid tribute to law enforcement as part of National Police Week.

The ceremony concluded with 11 roses placed at the base of the Law Enforcement Memorial, a rose for each name carved into the marble. As each name was called out, officers or relatives of the fallen carried a rose in their honor. A final procession of every uniformed officer at the event rendered a salute to the memorial.

Prior to laying the roses, members of the Missoula Police Department, Missoula County Detention Facility and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office received awards for merit and distinction. Their actions included applying tourniquets to arterial wounds, preventing drug overdoses with Narcan, and locating an abandoned child.

Missoula natives Mike and Julie Bloomdahl sat through the wind and the rain to honor Allen L. Kimery, one of the 11 memorialized, who was killed in 1984.

“The one time he didn’t bring his Kevlar,” said Mike Bloomdahl.

Kimery was a friend of the family, and had a daughter who would babysit for the Bloomdahls.

Their oldest son currently serves in the Army, while their youngest, Adam, is four weeks into his career with Missoula Police Department.

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