JOPLIN, Mo. — Two Missouri police officers never got to meet but will forever be connected after the sacrifice of one, grants hope of a second chance to the other.
Last Wednesday, Sept. 15, Independence Missouri Police Ofc. Blaize Madrid-Evans, was shot and killed in the line of duty. Ofc. Madrid-Evans was an organ donor and Springfield Missouri Police Ofc. Mark Priebe, who was severely injured in the line of duty in 2020, needed a new kidney. The two were a match.
Early Friday morning, Sept. 17th, the Priebe family was notified of the news, and the surgery to place the kidney was the following day in St. Louis.
Ofc. Madrid-Evans, 22, and recently began his career with the Independence Police Department after graduating from the police academy in July. During his brief time at the department, fellow officers say he was excited to be out in the community, was eager to help and always had a smile on his face.
After Saturday’s surgery, Ofc. Priebe woke up from the operation with new hope. “I am forever grateful to Ofc. Madrid-Evans and his family for providing this direct donation,” Officer Priebe said. “I truly believe God had his hand in this and it’s been difficult to comprehend why I am allowed to continue to live, and this young, brand new officer had to pay the ultimate sacrifice. I hope that I can honor him and his family by the way I live my life.”
On June 9, 2020, Ofc. Priebe, a husband, father of two and a 21-year veteran of the Springfield Police Department, was left paralyzed after being intentionally struck by a vehicle outside of police headquarters. Just over a year later, in June 2021, he learned that his kidneys were failing and the next month he began dialysis.
“Sept. 18th was National Thank A Police Officer Day. It was also the day that Mark was the recipient of a new kidney,” said Officer Priebe’s wife, Heather. “We are still emotional from this whole situation, as you can imagine, and this is part of our journey that you cannot make up. Mark has once again been given a second chance, thanks to a member of our thin blue line family. We hope we have the opportunity to meet Ofc. Madrid-Evans’ family in the near future and we pray for them as they navigate through the days ahead.”
You can continue to follow Ofc. Priebe’s journey and recovery on Facebook and support for Ofc. Madrid-Evans can be directed toward the Independence Police Foundation, which is accepting donations on behalf of his family. (SOURCE: press release)
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