Similar experience links Gilbert firefighter, teen in friendship

Posted at 6:04 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 10:26:27-04

They’re years apart in age, but share a life experience that bonds them. The result is an unlikely friendship between a Gilbert firefighter and a 12-year-old boy. 

Being a firefighter is, no doubt, a physically demanding job. 

Mase Mattingly lost part of his leg years ago after an injury. But doesn't let that keep him from doing his job.

"No, it's enhanced it actually. It's made it much better. I can get up every day without worrying about constant pain or debilitating pain," said Mattingly, who’s been with the Gilbert Fire Department for 11 years.

Part of the job gets him out in the community, forming meaningful connections.

This particular one happened at an elementary school on a "water safety day."

"I just noticed him walking with his classmates through the hall, and we noticed that he is an amputee, and we wanted to get to know him," Mattingly said.

That's how his friendship with 12-year-old Logan Carson began four years ago.

"I'd say he's awesome, nice, and kind," Logan Carson told the town when asked to describe Mattingly.

"Actually, I look up to him,” Mattingly said. “He's so tough--it's crazy."

Five years ago, after medical complications from strep throat, Logan lost his eye, some fingers, and his lower right leg.

"I think it's great for Logan to have a mentor or a person who he can kind of look up to who's also a below the knee amputee and just kind of see the things he can do and the things he does for others, as well,” Logan’s mother Candy Carson said in an interview posted by town officials.

The Town of Gilbert is sharing Mase and Logan's story as part of a new community campaign called “Gilbert Kindness” to celebrate something simple, but so meaningful.

"It's just kindness. When the outcome has a story like this, it brings smiles to people's faces, and it feels good," Mattingly said.