"I hope that I can honor him and his family by the way I live my life."

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Two Missouri police officers who never had the honor of meeting are connected forever through the gift of organ donation. 

On June 9, 2020, Officer Mark Priebe—a husband, father of two, and a 21-year veteran of the Springfield Police Department—was paralyzed after being intentionally struck by a vehicle. A year later he learned that his kidneys were failing, and he began dialysis this past July.

A few months later, on September 15, 2021, nearly 200 miles away, Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was 22 years old and had only just only begun his career with the Independence Police Department.

Officer Madrid-Evans was an organ donor. He was also a perfect match for Officer Priebe.

Last week, Officer Priebe woke up from the operation with a new kidney and a new hope.

"I am forever grateful to Officer Madrid-Evans and his family for providing this direct donation," he said in a statement. "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."

Officer Priebe's surgery happened to take place on National Thank A Police Officer Day.

"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," his wife Heather said. "We hope we have the opportunity to meet Officer Madrid-Evans' family in the near future and we pray for them as they navigate through the days ahead."

Officer Priebe Transplant
Credit: Heather Priebe

You can continue to follow Officer Priebe's journey and recovery on Facebook. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Officer Madrid-Evans' fiancé.

Our hearts are with both families during this emotional time.