(CNN) – Police officers are supposed to protect and serve. The service of an officer lives beyond his time.
Officer Mark Priebe, who has been with the Springfield, Missouri Police Department for 21 years, became paralyzed from waist to toe after a suspect hit him in June 2020 with an SUV outside the police headquarters, officials said.
His injuries escalated a pre-existing medical complication with one of his kidneys, leaving him in need of a transplant.
âI was feeling a lot of swelling,â Priebe said. “My kidneys started to fail and we had to start looking for a donor.”
The family began the research by chatting with relatives and friends and using social media, Priebe said.
Then last Thursday they got a phone call, he said.
A 22-year-old police officer from the Independence Police Department in Missouri, about 150 miles north, was fatally shot the day before while on duty.
Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was only two months old when he was killed.
His fellow officers described him as someone who always had a smile on their face and eager to help the community, department spokesman Jack Taylor told CNN in a statement.
The Independence Police Department contacted Priebe, and Madrid-Evans’ kidney turned out to be a life-saving match. Priebe had never met Madrid-Evans but knew he was a new officer in training.
âI was just speechless and shocked,â Priebe said.
The kidney match is bittersweet
With mixed emotions, Priebe is recovering from transplant surgery at SSM St. Louis University Hospital.
âIt’s sad. I started when I was 21, and knowing this young man was just starting out, and he knew the importance of organ donation. We were brothers in blue,â he said. -he declares. “… It’s a mixture of so mixed emotions.”
Mark’s wife Heather Priebe said Madrid-Evan’s kidney donation was bittersweet.
âI feel speechless. Being an organ recipient is one thing, but the story behind it really is another,â she said. “I am in awe. There is a feeling of guilt because his life has been tragically taken, and here we are doing well.”
Madrid-Evans’ family refused to speak to the media, the Independence Police Department said.
Mark Priebe said he felt sadness for the young officer’s family.
“I look forward to meeting his family and honoring him in any way I can,” he said, “and raising my children to honor Blaize and think of him.”
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