Officer, 3-year-old he helped reunite after 50 years

Local News

CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Five decades ago, a scary situation was made safer thanks to a Richland Township police officer. The moment made an impact so large, the connection still lasts to this day.

In 1971, a 3-year-old, Bernie Imgrund, lost her family in Glosser Brothers Department Store.

“They had left the store,” Imgrund, now 53-years-old and living in Altoona, explained. “My dad and the seven oldest kids. He threw them all back in the car and they headed towards Bedford and they still didn’t realize that the youngest one was not in the car.”

Bernie Imgrund & Former Richland Twp. Police Captain Tony Palm, Sr. in 1971

With no cell phones at the time, Imgrund went to a store employee who contacted police for help. She was eventually brought to the office of Captain Tony Palm, Sr. at the Richland Township Police Department. The two waited there until her family returned.

“She was such a delight,” Plam, now 90-years-old and living at Laurel View Village in Davidsville, Somerset County, explained. “I said a prayer. I said a prayer to God that I don’t scare her. I didn’t want her to be afraid of this uniform or me.”

“Tony made me feel safe until my dad finally came back and realized I wasn’t there,” Imgrund told WTAJ.

The picture on the cover of the book title “My Life in Stories: A Memoir”

A photo of the two was taken as they were waiting for Imgrund’s family to return. It’s an image that has stayed with the pair for the past five decades. 

Palm keeps the picture next to him in his nursing home, while Bernie saves hers in a frame. It’s also on the cover of a book Palm’s son, Tony Palm Jr., helped his father write. It’s called “My Life in Stories: A Memoir” and is available on Amazon.

For 50 years, the two went their separate ways, never thinking they would see or talk to one another ever again, until that all changed. 

Palm’s family found Imgrund on social media and last month the two were able to meet once again.

Imgrund & Palm give each other a hug after seeing each other for the first time in 50 years

“When I went to hug him, I just had goosebumps and tears in my eyes too,” Bernie said when talking about their reunion.

The two shared just one, small interaction 50 years ago. However, that one day was something that meant the world to both of them.

“The whole story is beautiful,” Palm said. “When you think about it, it turned out nicely. Very nice.”

Reach out to Maggie Smolka by emailing msmolka@wtajtv.com or by sending her a message on Facebook if you know someone or an organization that’s making it matter in the community.

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