Our Nominate Your Hero Winner!
Mark was a Springfield Missouri police officer for over 20 years. On June 9, 2020 his career ended at the hands of a man who made the decision to “run over a cop”, as he declared in his statements to the police. He drove to police headquarters and had caused an altercation inside the building. He was escorted outside and was seen walking toward the parking lot. Mark along with his Sergeant followed him out to ensure safety and to diffuse the situation. He got in his car, then drove his vehicle directly at Mark and into a concrete barricade. Mark was pinned between the two and suffered trunk and spinal injuries so severe that he was paralyzed. Although emergency surgery was successful in treating the injury, the damage to his spine was permanent. Mark spent weeks in the hospital recovering and months at Craig Hospital in Denver away from his family. He regained his strength, rehabilitated and learned how to take care of his daily needs. He is able to use a wheelchair and can even drive a car. His home has been remodeled to accommodate his physical needs.
Mark and wife, Heather have two kids. Conner is 16 and Chloe is 10. Mark had been Heather’s caregiver since her diagnosis of follicular lymphoma, the year prior. Now the roles were shifted, and the kids stepped up to care for both parents, along with other family members.
Mark is a hero, not for sustaining significant and life-altering injuries, but for his bravery and positivity during so much tragedy and adversity. He has suffered lymphedema and is now facing kidney disease, which has put him on dialysis and on a transport list. His family has faced the unthinkable and has battled it with strength and grace. The kids have been amazing. Conner did a Polar Plunge fundraiser and works with kids at Special Olympics. Chloe is a talented and creative artist. She started Chloe’s Creations while Mark was at Craig, which is artwork she sells locally to help the family. He and Heather have raised caring, committed kids who have been taught to give back and help others. It is a testament to their parenting and loving family dynamic.
In the Fall, members of the community hosted a 5K, 10k and half marathon called Priebe Strong to raise money for the family. Mark had another idea. He wanted the proceeds to be split to benefit Special Olympics, an organization he has been a part of for many years. As an ambassador, he has traveled out of the country to do the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Even in his own time of need, he has chosen to give back.
He also serves on the Executive Board for Republic Community Action Team. Mark, along with others are planning the 2022 Priebe Strong Run, which will benefit another officer injured in the line of duty and the RCAT fund.