Hundreds gather for race to benefit Springfield officer Mark Priebe

Published: Oct. 24, 2020 at 11:28 PM CDT
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REPUBLIC, Mo. (KY3) - The city of Republic proclaimed October 24, 2020 Mark Priebe Day.

Hundreds gathered for the Priebe Strong 1062 Race on Saturday. The motto was “We run so you can walk.” A close friend of the family organized the race shortly after Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe was severely injured on the job, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

“I know I needed to do something for him and running is what I know what to do," said organizer Anne Buchanan.

Buchanan planned a fun run, 5K, 10k and half-marathon race to help raise money for medical expenses.

“Honestly thought it maybe a couple hundred," said Buchanan.

Buchanan’s goal ended up being over 700 people signing up. She said they wanted to raise around $20,000 dollars, but organizers estimated they raised $30,000.

“It’s amazing that so many people are willing to come out spend their time for us and our family” said Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe.

Before the race kicked off, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson shared a few words of encouragement.

“As long as your heart is in the right place and you have the momentum to keep going. Believe me, you can get through bad things," said Gov. Parson.

The crowd of runners and volunteers sang “Happy Birthday” to Priebe’s son Connor for his sweet 16.

“One for the books. Something special," said Connor Priebe.

Connor said the best present of all was pushing his dad across the start and finish line.

“It was pretty special. You don’t get to do that everyday,” said Connor Priebe.

Mark Priebe said he was proud of his son for doing that.

“To see the young man he’s turning in to. The fact that he went so far at the beginning and took me across the finish line. Having that family being you keeps you motivated. It keeps me motivated," said Mark Priebe.

Priebe’s fellow officers also ran alongside him.

“I don’t have any words to express how honored I was. We were smiling and joking the whole way to keep everyone going,” said Springfield Police Sergeant Annesha Umbarger.

Even first responders across the state came to support.

“We’re there for the cops they’re there for the firemen," said Joplin firefighter Adam Stewart.

A first responder from South Carolina and a friend of Priebe traveled across the country to support.

“Mark’s a great guy. What happened to him can happen to anyone of us. We’re just doing our job," said Mike Peek.

Priebe said he’s thankful for the community to come together to support his family.

“The volunteers, the organizers, the folks that offer their services. The vendors that are out here. All the runners. All the supporters. It was amazing and we appreciate it,” said Mark Priebe.

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