KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In his final heroic act, Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was an organ donor, allowing him to save the lives of others.
The 22-year-old officer was killed last week when he was shot while responding to a call.
Now, even in death, he continues to serve as an organ donor, including saving the life of fellow Missouri police officer Mark Priebe.
In June 2020, Officer Priebe was intentionally hit by a suspect's vehicle, leaving him with a permanent spinal cord injury.
Following that accident, a kidney disorder that had mostly been kept in check, suddenly flared up.
"My kidney function had dropped substantially to the point where they said, 'Hey, we’re going to have to get you on a transplant list,'" Priebe said.
The father of two knew the wait could be long.
And then, after just a few months, he got the call about a possible match.
The donor? Madrid-Evans, a fellow police officer who died in the line of duty.
"It’s sad and it’s bittersweet," Priebe said. "He’s the hero, he’s the one that’s given me yet another opportunity to continue to live and to be part of my family and watch my kids grow up and grow old with my wife."
The Priebes say they're eternally grateful for Madrid-Evans' final act of service as an organ donor.
Priebe's wife, Heather, says through all of this, her heart hurts for Madrid-Evans' family, especially his fiancee.
"And I just can’t wait till the day comes that I can embrace her and support her and let her know that we are here," Heather Priebe said. "While I haven’t been in her shoes, we’re here for her. She will never be alone she will always have someone that will have her back."
Unfortunately, Officer Priebe says he won't be out of the hospital and cleared in time to attend Madrid-Evans' funeral. But, several of his fellow Springfield officers will attend this Friday in his honor.
KSHB 41 reached out to Blaize's fiancee. We are not sharing her name or photograph at this time to respect her request for privacy.
However, she shared this statement with us:
"Blaize was a humble human being. He never wanted the spotlight. He never wanted to be considered a hero. What he really wanted was to help, and that’s what he did. Even as the curtain fell on his life far too soon... It was his last act of kindness. I guess I'm just glad he got to help somebody out. That’s what he would have wanted. Thank you for your service, Officer Priebe. Please carry the torch."
We did speak with her father, who called his future son-in-law one of the finest young men he'd ever known.
He also said he hopes to one day meet Officer Priebe and give him a great big hug.