Road to Recovery: Springfield Officer Priebe finishes rehab in Colorado hospital

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 10:15 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -We’re following the remarkable recovery of Springfield Police Department Officer Mark Priebe. He is scheduled to come home Thursday after spending months at a hospital in Colorado for rehabilitation.

On June 9th, the 21-year Springfield police veteran was seriously injured after a driver rammed him into a barricade with an SUV.

Priebe suffered a spine injury and is paralyzed.

He spent his summer at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. It’s a few minutes south of Denver. It’s a world-renowned facility that specializes in spinal cord injuries.

His wife of twenty years, Heather Priebe, is by his side. For their kids, Conner and Chloe, the visit is tough. They must stay six-feet away from Dad.

“My family, just seeing my kids. I hadn’t seen her since I left Mercy. I saw Conner a few weeks after I was here, but as you know, you can’t give them hugs. So that’s been hard, probably the hardest,” said Priebe.

“He is amazing and brave. He doesn’t give up even though things are tough for him right now. Whenever things are tough he always gets through it,” said his daughter, Chloe Priebe.

“With what happened, it could have been worse so we’re happy where he is now,” said his son, Conner Priebe.

“We didn’t know anyone in a wheelchair. This is new life for us,” said his wife, Heather Priebe.

“I remember when Heather left the first time and just being here by myself and you have downtime in the evenings … and thinking about things, I just sat there and cried. It’s figuring out how I’m going to do things. Participate in my kids lives. How Heather and I can do things,” said Priebe.

Rehab here is all about transitioning to the new normal.

“Things are going to be a different height for me. So that’s where we are trying to figure out things back at home especially. What I can and can’t reach,” said Priebe.

Officer Priebe says faith, family and community support keeps him in motion.

"I shouldn’t be here. I should be dead. I really believe that. I know that. If it wasn’t for another officer that took action, there would have been a funeral. And they would have had to go through a funeral for me. I think God has kept me here for a reason. I don’t know why … to be better dad, to be a better husband, a better person and hopefully give back, said Priebe.

The Prayers for Priebe Facebook page has more than 30,000 followers.

They say the outpour of community support can’t be measured. The Facebook page is also a place for Heather to share her own challenges. She has cancer.

“I have follicular lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s. It’s treatable, not curable. I’ll have it the rest of my life. But the way we’re going now, everything is going good,” she said.

The Priebe family is asking for one thing, continued prayers. They know there will be challenges ahead but believe they can accomplish anything because of faith and community support.

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