Trooper Balder Honors Fallen and Offers Gratitude for Support to
Public & ISP Police Family
Trooper Doug Balder and wife Kimberli (center), Director Hiram Grau and Captain Pat Kimes (right),
Trooper Kyle Fletcher, Lieutenant Robert Gembara and Lieutenant Bob Meeder (left).
CHICAGO –Illinois State Police (ISP) Trooper Doug Balder was released from Loyola Hospital on Thursday, May 1, and is slowly recovering from severe injuries he suffered in January, while on duty when his squad car and a tollway maintenance vehicle were struck by a truck tractor semi-trailer at I-88 eastbound at Eola Road.
The tollway worker, Vincent Petrella, did not survive and Trooper Balder suffered serious wounds that left him hospitalized in intensive care for many months.
Trooper Balder’s hospital release comes at a time when law enforcement across the country pay tribute to the fallen during National Police Memorial Month. Since 1932, every year on the first Sunday of May, Chicago Police Department members participate in one of the oldest and proudest traditions in honor of those who have courageously served.
Days after being released from the hospital, Trooper Balder was eager to share in one of law enforcement’s most sacred traditions that honors and remembers the brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice. He also wanted to thank his fellow officers and the public for their continued support shown to him and his family during his recovery period.
It’s amazing to experience the amount of support that has come to our home, to my wife, to me, from the state, the navy, friends, and family,” said Trooper Doug Balder. “The support base has been very, very strong and it means so much. I don’t know that we could have done it without everybody and everything they have done for us,” Balder stressed.
ISP Director Hiram Grau, who is also a former president of the St. Jude Police League attended the ceremony along with Trooper Balder’s fellow District 15 officers and ISP officers statewide.
“This is where he wanted to be,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “He was just released from the hospital last week to begin a lengthy rehabilitation process, but he wanted to make sure he was right here with his fellow troopers and police officers to say thank you,” Grau added.
ISP motorcycles led the ISP ranks as they marched. The motorcycles stopped as a public demonstration of support and respect when they approached Trooper Balder and his wife Kimberli. Trooper Balder stood and saluted his fellow officers.
ISP Operations Colonel Michael Zerbonia stepped out of the line formation to quickly embrace and acknowledge Trooper Balder before returning back to the line to march. ISP officers proudly marched passed Trooper Balder who was flanked by his wife Kimberli and District 15 Trooper Kyle Fletcher.
ISP District Captain Pat Kimes, Lieutenant Bob Meeder and numerous command staff from District 15 Operations were also in attendance and joined ISP officers and law enforcement officials from across the country at Museum Campus Drive and marched to Gold Star Families Memorial and Park to remember the fallen heroes.
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