Human Interest Missouri Cop, 22, Who Died in the Line of Duty Saved Fellow Officer with Posthumous Kidney Donation “I truly believe God had his hand in this," Mark Priebe said of the life-saving donation provided by fellow officer Blaize Madrid-Evans By Joelle Goldstein Joelle Goldstein Twitter Joelle Goldstein is a TV Staff Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She has been with the brand for nearly five years, beginning her time as a digital news writer, where she covered everything from entertainment news to crime stories and royal tours. Since then, she has worked as a writer-reporter on the Human Interest team and an associate editor on the TV team. In her current role, Joelle oversees all things TV and enjoys being able to say she has to watch The Kardashians and America's Got Talent for "work". Prior to joining PEOPLE, Joelle was employed at The Hollywood Reporter. She graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelors in Television-Radio (and an appearance in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Final Four!) People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 21, 2021 04:34 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans (left) and Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe. Photo: Springfield, MO Police Department A Missouri police officer who died in the line of duty has continued to help others after his death, as his kidney went to a fellow Missouri cop in need. Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was just 22 years old when he was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sept. 15, according to a press release from the Springfield Police Department. Officials said he recently began his career at the department after graduating from the police academy in July and was "excited to be out in the community, was eager to help and always had a smile on his face." About 15 months earlier, Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe was severely injured while on the job after being struck by an SUV outside of the police headquarters on June 9, 2020, the release stated. As a result, the father of two was paralyzed from the waist down — and a year later, he learned that due to his failing kidneys, he needed a transplant. Officer Mark Priebe holding up a photo of fallen Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans,. Springfield, MO Police Department Teacher Donates Plasma to Student, 9, in Need of Multiple Organ Transplants: 'Whatever It Takes' At the time of Madrid-Evans' death, the officer had been registered as an organ donor, and after some testing, it was determined he was the perfect match for Priebe. The bittersweet news was quickly shared with the Priebe family on Sept. 17 and the life-saving surgery took place the following day in St. Louis, according to the press release. After the successful transplant, the Springfield Police Department said Priebe "woke up from the operation with new hope." "I am forever grateful to Officer Madrid-Evans and his family for providing this direct donation," the officer said in a statement. "I truly believe God had his hand in this and it's been difficult to comprehend why I am allowed to continue to live, and this young, brand new officer had to pay the ultimate sacrifice. I hope that I can honor him and his family by the way I live my life." RELATED VIDEO: Teacher Who 'Never Thought' He'd Be a Dad Adopts Student After Getting Him a Life-Saving Kidney Priebe's wife Heather echoed those sentiments in a Facebook post, writing: "September 18, 2021, was also National Thank a Police Officer Day. While we will never formally be able to thank Blaize, for the job he chose and for his gift of donation, we will be able to thank his family." "September 18 will be an anniversary for our family," she continued. "It will always be a bittersweet day. We will remember Blaize and his generous donation. We will remember his family for supporting his decision of organ donation. It will be a day that we will encourage others to consider organ donation." "Blaize, may you rest in peace and know we have it from here. Thank you for your gift of organ donation," Heather wrote. "Thank you for giving my husband a second chance. Thank you for giving Conner and Chloe's dad a second chance. I look forward to meeting you in heaven one day and saying thank you." Though the two police officers never had the chance to meet, the Springfield Police Department noted that Priebe and Madrid-Evans "will forever be connected after the sacrifice of one, grants hope of a second chance to the other." The Independence Police Foundation is currently accepting donations on behalf of Madrid-Evans' family, per the department.