Republic softball tournament raises money for Officer Priebe’s family

Published: Jul. 11, 2020 at 10:44 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2020 at 10:55 PM CDT
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REPUBLIC, Mo. (KY3) - Swinging for a cause and rallying around local law enforcement. That’s what brought dozens of families Saturday to softball fields in Republic.

The fields at J.R. Martin Park were full of people supporting Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe, who suffered serious injuries in June after being hit outside the downtown police headquarters.

A softball tournament to benefit Priebe’s family began at 8 a.m. and stretched into Saturday night, all in an effort to help while Priebe continues his road to recovery in Colorado.

“We just really wanted to do something that actually supported and showed that we love him and that we are caring and thinking about him,” said event organizer Marty Eddings.

Coaching a softball team is nothing new for Eddings, but starting a fundraiser is a whole new ballgame. He still decided to take a swing at it after an outcry of support.

Eddings says the fields looked a lot different Saturday than they have in years.

”I don’t think this many people have been at this park ever,” Eddings said.

Mark Priebe’s wife Heather says each day is a small step forward. She says he’s staying positive and strong and the family feels blessed for the support.

Her aunt, Barbara McVey, was at the event today and says all the support has been overwhelming in the best way possible.

”The community support that Heather and Mark have received is just incredible. And it’s brought us to tears many times over all of the nice things the republic community has done.” McVey said.

Saturday’s event was just a one example of that community.

”We pull together. We show unity when tragedy strikes one of our own and it shows that we are a community that reaches out, and they don’t have to be asked twice,” said tournament director Jessica Pitchford.

One of Priebe’s colleagues from the Springfield Police Department says it’s all because Mark is standout community leader.

”When I think of Mark, I honestly cannot think of a person that sets an example of selfless service any better than him,” said Annesha Umbarger.

Event organizers say the goal was to raise $5,000. Organizers say they have raised at least $7,000.

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