During the opening ceremony for the Arizona Special Olympics on Friday, Investigator William “Bill” Weigt, who is paralyzed and has been confined to a wheelchair for 14 years, took the field with three other police officers.
What Weigt shared with the crowd of thousands was captured on video and has gone viral on Facebook, according to Today.com. With the assistance of a Permobil F5 power chair, Weigt was able to stand for the National Anthem — something he said he has wanted to do for 14 years.
“I’d been wanting to stand for the national anthem for 14 years. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but it was so exciting,” Weigt said.
“When everything hushed and the drums started, I’m telling you, everything just went right into place,” he added.
Weigt is an investigator at Arizona’s Peoria Police Department. He was shot in the line of duty and left paralyzed, two weeks before Christmas 2005, Inside Edition reported.
December 17, 2005 several lives changed forever. Today we honor the CONTINUED commitment & dedication of Investigator Bill Weigt to @PeoriaAzPS and the citizens of Peoria. Please take a moment to watch this brief video. #peoriaaz #peoriapoliceaz pic.twitter.com/qmnhILMm9C
— Peoria Police (AZ) (@PeoriaPoliceAZ) December 17, 2017
“It was a drug deal gone bad. Suspect just got out of his vehicle and started shooting,” Weigt said.
A bullet hit Weigt in the shoulder and then made its way to his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
DEDICATION! @PeoriaPoliceAZ Honor Guard member Bill Weigt was able stand for the #NationalAnthem & present the #AmericanFlag, for the first time in nearly 14 years, after he was shot and paralyzed in the line of duty in 2005. What an awesome moment! #PeoriaPDAZ pic.twitter.com/IVQGZY3WwR
— Peoria Police (AZ) (@PeoriaPoliceAZ) October 26, 2019
Weigt said he broke down in his car after the games, becoming very emotional. He was surrounded by many, including his nephew Andrew for support and photos.
Weigt, who is also a former United States infantry soldier said that he is reading all of the comments that are being sent to the Peoria Police Department’s Facebook page showing support.
One person said, “Not enough heart emojis in the world for this one. God bless!”
Another said, “Your determination and will to overcome your tragedy, is more than any words I can write.”
Weigt said that his new state-of-the-art wheelchair allows him much more mobility, and for that, he is grateful. He is now able to “go from sit-to-stand or lay-to-stand.”
He said, “I had lot of spasms and pain. Being able to change positions helps with that. I feel good.”
He calls it a blessing that he was able to offer hope to others who have disabilities.
Despite his injuries, Weigt said his life is good and “he feels good on the inside too.”
“Of course, I would like to go and get my body back, but I can’t, so I make the best of what I’ve got. And I have a really great life,” he said.