Anthony Netto said his blood was boiling when he heard the news about Officer Mark Priebe.
Back in June, Priebe suffered life-altering injuries when authorities say a transient man purposefully rammed his SUV into Priebe outside of the Springfield Police Department headquarters.
Priebe, a 21-year veteran of the Springfield police force and staunch advocate for Special Olympics, lost the use of his legs and has been undergoing physical therapy for the last four months.
When word of Priebe’s case reached Netto, the affable South Africa native said he became determined to do something.
“I said to my wife, ‘No matter what happens, this kid we’re going to help,'” Netto said.
Netto is the founder of the Stand Up and Play Foundation, a charity that donates devices similar to wheelchairs called “paramobiles” to people with disabilities. The paramobiles allow the user to stand up and take part in activities like golf or archery.
On Saturday, Netto made the trip from his home in San Diego to southwest Missouri to surprise Officer Priebe with a paramobile.
Netto said the paramobile allows people with paralysis to stay more active and also helps prevent bedsores, digestive tract issues, osteoporosis and helps improve blood circulation.
“You definitely are going to go through ups and downs,” Netto said. “And I know how this piece of equipment has saved my life and many others.”
Saturday’s surprise donation came in the middle of a fundraiser for Priebe’s family that was organized by Lift Gym in Nixa.
Priebe said he was overwhelmed by the gift from the Stand Up and Play Foundation as well as the strong show of support from the local community at the fundraiser.
“It’s amazing,” Priebe said. “I think that’s what gets us even more emotional with everything that’s happened since June is just the outpouring of support.”
Priebe said he tried out a paramobile when he was doing rehab work at a special facility in Colorado earlier this summer, and he is thrilled to now have one of his own.
“It will help with my health and my bone density and just getting off my backside,” Priebe said. “And I can get around and do stuff, if it’s golfing or shooting or whatever we’re going to do.”
Priebe said he is excited to pick up golfing as a new hobby since he has several family members who like to play, but he said the first thing he plans on doing with the paramobile is cruising his neighborhood in Republic.
Read or Share this story: https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2020/10/10/injured-springfield-officer-priebe-gifted-device-help-mobility/5954596002/