FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- A southeastern Kentucky lawmaker who was severely injured when trying to break up a fight earlier this year resigned from his House seat on Wednesday.
Republican State Rep. Dewayne Bunch, a public school teacher, suffered a head injury while intervening among students at Whitley County High School in April. His wife, Regina Bunch, announced the resignation in a letter to legislative leaders.
"After much soul searching and prayer, we as a family decided it is in the best interest of his constituency if he resigned as state representative," she said in the letter. "This will allow for his replacement to hopefully be sworn in prior to the 2012 session of the General Assembly."
House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover praised the 49-year-old freshman lawmaker from Williamsburg for his service in the legislature.
"While we will miss serving with Dewayne, we understand this decision and want what is best for his recovery," Hoover said in a joint statement with Reps. Danny Ford and Bob Deweese.
"Dewayne has exemplified what it means to be a servant leader," they said. "Whether it was his service to our nation through the military, his service to the 82nd District as state representative, or his service to the young people of Whitley County as an educator, Dewayne has time and again lived the type of life that can be an example to all of us."
Dewayne Bunch was hospitalized for a month, and then transferred to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta for long-term care. Two teenage boys face charges in Whitley County in the fight.
"Dewayne is continuing his recovery and he hopes to be back in Kentucky soon," his wife said.
Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo, also expressed regrets about Dewayne Bunch's resignation.
"We respect his decision and wish him nothing but the best," Stumbo said. "Of all the people I have served with over the years, I don't know of a finer man than Dewayne."