11/06/2009 AT 6:35 PM ET
When country star Dierks Bentley met Sgt. Kimberly Munley last July as he played an Independence Day concert at Ft. Hood, the police officer stood out to him.
“She was on the police force and was off to the side but I could tell she was a fan,” he told PEOPLE Friday. Munley waited quietly until the crowd thinned out and then approached Bentley for a picture, which she posted as her Twitter profile image.
Now, it’s the singer who is proud to be pictured with Munley, hailed as a hero after stopping Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged the shooter responsible for Thursday’s massacre at Ft. Hood Army base, which killed 13 people.
Bentley telephoned Munley, 34, on Friday morning after he learned that she helped fell the gunman and had been wounded in the process.
“I said I was honored to have my picture with her and that my band and I were all thinking of her and praying for the folks on the base. I told her, ‘We are all just really thankful to you,’ ” says Bentley. “She was quiet and she’s just humble person and said she was just doing what she does. She would say she’s just out there doing her job, but it’s a pretty amazing job she did. It’s pretty impressive.
Bentley says Munley was in good spirits despite her injuries and the grave nature of the previous day’s events. “I can’t imagine what that experience was like but she said she’s okay,” he says. “She said she lost a lot of blood but it sounded like she’s on the road to recovery.”
Bentley, who plans to return to Ft. Hood to see Munley again, says those on the base are no doubt shaken by the shooting, but will draw on the strength of their close-knit military community.
“God, these families – there is a reason why they call them Army strong. There’s strong and then there’s Army strong,” he says. “They have to deal with their friends, husbands, sons, daughters putting themselves in harm’s way far away and now to have that worry in their own community where they should feel they are the safest? But these are the strongest people. It’s a really tight-knit group and they lift each other up when they are down.”