Local News

Harnett Firefighter Will Not Let Accident Prevent Him From Working

Posted February 17, 2005

— A Harnett County fireman spent eight months in a wheelchair. Now, he spends five days a week in therapy, trying to fix what a roadside bomb in Iraq took away.

Doctors prepared Mason Poe's family that he may not live. The Marine Reservist had injuries to his skull, spine, neck and legs.

"I don't remember [anything] from that day," he said.

The 24-year-old has had 26 surgeries and lost 100 pounds. He is now learning to stretch out his legs and walk all over again.

"At times, it's gotten me down, but I've overlooked it really," he said.

Poe said he does not have time to look back. Every day, a member of the Dunn Fire Department picks him up at therapy and takes him right to work. Poe has been part of the firehouse since he was 16.

Doctors said Poe may never regain full use of legs, but Poe and Dunn Fire Chief Austin Tew do not believe that. They said Poe will eventually be back on the firetruck.

"Mason is not a quitter," Tew said.

For now, Poe is on desk duty.

"There's work for him to do and it's also therapy for him and for us," Tew said.

Poe's call back to the military is something he does not regret.

"I'd do it again. Even if I knew this would happen, I'd do it because if I can prevent someone younger than me from having this happen to them, I don't care, I'd do it," Poe said.

Poe's family has a strong military background. His father, Joe Poe of Dunn, was the first Gulf War Veteran in the country to receive disability benefits for Gulf War Syndrome. His older brother is an active duty Marine and leaves for Iraq within a few weeks.

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