April 10, 2015
RMEF Salutes Purple Heart Recipient Patrick Zeigler
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation offers its sincere gratitude and congratulations to Staff Sergeant Patrick Zeigler of Rochester, Minn. Accompanied by wife Jessica and son Liam, Zeigler received a Purple Heart at a ceremony held at Fort Hood, Texas.
“Patrick is a true American hero,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “It is most appropriate that the United States Army recognizes Patrick with this prestigious and deserving combat decoration.”
Zeigler was the most seriously wounded survivor of the Fort Hood shooting rampage on November 5, 2009, that killed 13 people and left more than 30 others injured. He served two combat tours in Iraq and had just been selected for officer candidate school before finding himself in the crowded military base processing center where the shooting took place.
After being shot four times, including once in the head, doctors told Zeigler he may never walk again. He endured multiple surgical procedures and thousands of hours of rigorous physical therapy treatments. More than five years later, Zeigler is back on his feet although he continues to deal with the long-lasting effects of the shooting.
Shortly following the shooting, Zeigler told a chaplain about his dream to go elk hunting. That request eventually made it back to Allen. RMEF organized a hunting trip to New Mexico for Zeigler and his family this past fall where he was able to kill a bull elk.
“The men and women who serve in our military, as well as their families, sacrifice so much for all of us. They deserve our utmost respect and honor. We are proud of Patrick, Jessica and Liam. They show true courage every day. We will be forever in their debt,” added Allen.
Zeigler’s Purple Heart was one of 44 medals presented during the Fort Hood ceremony.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are wounded in the line of duty. Soldiers receiving the Purple Heart automatically qualify for combat-related special compensation upon retirement and are also eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.