INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A Springfield police officer in need of a kidney got the gift of life from an Independence brother in blue who lost his life in the line of duty.
Police officers put their lives at risk every day to keep their community safe, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice. Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans is one of them, shot and killed last week after responding to a call.
While his legacy will live on forever in the Independence community, Madrid-Evans will also live on in others as an organ donor — including for a police officer in Springfield, Missouri.
Madrid-Evans’ ultimate sacrifice resulted in the ultimate gift for Officer Mark Priebe and his family.
“In the last several days, I have cried and cried and cried,” said Priebe’s wife Heather. “Tears of joy that we had this opportunity and tears of sorrow for him and his family.”
The Priebes are trying to balance a range of emotions as Mark recovers from a kidney transplant that came from a tragedy that hits close to home.
“The fact that it was somebody I didn’t know but it was it was a young, brand new officer — my heart aches, it still does,” Mark said.
Madrid-Evans, 22, was shot and killed last week after responding to a call. Priebe knows what it’s like to be a new, young officer. He started his career in the mid ’90s in southwest Missouri when he was just 21.
“This young, bright, good kid was just trying to do right for his community,” Mark said. “To go through what his family is going through at the moment, it’s been hard.”
It’s the most recent hardship for the Priebes. In June 2020, Mark was intentionally hit by a car outside of the Springfield Police Department and paralyzed from the waist down. A kidney issue he had for almost two decades progressed rapidly after that, and Priebe has been on dialysis and the donor list for three months.
Then on Thursday morning, the Springfield Police Department got a call from the Independence Police Department wondering if Priebe still needed a kidney. That night, the Priebes packed up and headed to St. Louis for surgery Friday morning.
Madrid-Evans was a match. An officer who died protecting the community gave this father, husband and fellow officer the gift of life.
“We can’t wait to meet him one day. Heaven is the only place that will allow that,” Heather said. “I hope that he sees and I hope he knows what he has done for us and our family.”
The Independence Police Department issued this statement about Madrid-Evans’ kidney donation to Priebe:
“Officer Madrid-Evans’ organ donation is saving the life of another police officer. This sheds a ray of light on a otherwise tragic time for our department. Officer Madrid-Evans continues to serve his community and police family even in death.”