Shot and paralyzed while in pursuit of a suspect in December 2005, Honor Guard investigator Bill Weigt from Peoria, Arizona, had to wait for 14 years to be able to present the American flag and stand for the national anthem again.
The emotional moment took place at the Special Olympics Arizona opening ceremonies on Friday, Oct. 25, as former police officer Weigt, beside fellow members of the Peoria Honor Guard, stood in a specialized wheelchair to present the American flag and stand for the national anthem, for the first time in nearly 14 years.
Weigt told KSAZ-TV back in 2005, in the line of duty, he was shot in the chest, just above his bulletproof vest. The bullet “hit a rib, ricocheted down to my spine, and then paralyzed me from the mid-chest down,” he recalled. The shooter’s accomplice was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Police officers never know what kind of call they’re going to answer, so Weigt encouraged his colleagues to always be cautious and guard their bodies with proper protection.
“It’s the simplest thing in the world. Why not just wear it? It should be easy, but it’s a personal thing for me,” Weigt said. “But if they chose not to, I wish they would. All of them, I wish they would.”
One year after the tragic incident, Weigt returned to work at the police department as a member of the criminal investigations division and supported people with special needs, according to The Western Journal.
Even in the face of tragedy, Weigt never gave up. He is truly an inspiring image of dedication.