Tyler’s Story

Tyler Brett Mattingly

Tyler Brett Mattingly, born on September 1, 1994 was an adorable, vibrant little boy from the moment he was born. As a little boy he loved to ride his big wheel, play ball with his Dad and when he was old enough he enjoyed volunteering with me, his Mom, at a local animal rescue. He was a curious little boy and from a young age took an interest in computers and history. Tyler grew up in a small town in rural Southern Maryland, where he received his education and graduated from Great Mills High School in June 2012 at the age of seventeen.

When Tyler was just ten years old, his father passed away unexpectedly due to complications with kidney failure. That was a turning point in Tyler’s life and one that changed the way he interacted with me and with his peers. He began to keep to himself – spending most of his time in his room – and eventually became very shy and socially awkward around his peers. Tyler and I grew very close during this time but he still found it difficult to discuss his feelings with me because “he was afraid he would make me sad.” He began to see a therapist and that seemed to help him, but I still wasn’t seeing him interacting with friends. Eventually, I met someone and we began dating, which was very hard for Tyler. My relationship grew stronger with time and in July 2010 we were married. This was a hard transition for Tyler but over time he developed an unbreakable bond with my new husband, Del. With Del’s encouragement and mentorship, Tyler built upon his passion for computers as well as developing a love for working on his car. Most of his time was spent either at school or at home in his room, where he would study the in’s and out’s of computers and information technology for hours. In the summer before his senior year of high school, Tyler sent an email to the Sheriff of our local Sheriff’s Office, asking if there were any volunteer opportunities available that he might be suited for. When he received a reply saying that there was a history project that they could use his help on, Tyler was elated and immediately scheduled an interview with the Sheriff. I can still remember how excited he was when he was offered the position as an intern under one of their deputies. Although she wasn’t thrilled to be responsible for a young intern (especially one who was so shy and awkward), it didn’t take long for him to worm his way into her heart and those of many of the deputies within the department. Tyler became a part of the illustrious group, deemed “The History Ladies” that consisted of local historians and genealogists and they quickly grew to love him and even called themselves his “Aunties.” He was assigned to assist them with research for a book they were writing to record the 375th Anniversary of the Sheriff’s Office. Del and I watched as Tyler began to come out of his shell and interact more with us at home. We witnessed his whole demeanor begin to change – he was now a happy young man who seemed to have found a place that he fit in and felt comfortable. Tyler continued his internship throughout his senior year and after graduation he had even applied for a full time clerical position within the Sheriff’s Office with the thought that he would do that until he was old enough to attend the police academy. His step father and I marveled as we watched him transform from a shy, socially awkward boy into a confident, happy young man who was excited about his future.

That would all come to an end when on the night of August 11, 2012 – just two weeks before his eighteenth birthday – Tyler was involved in an automobile accident that brought his promising life to an end. The news of his passing was devastating to both myself and my husband, Tyler’s stepfather, along with the rest of his family, friends and our community. That night, life as I knew it, changed forever. Although I had previously lost my first husband and other close family members, losing my child was easily the greatest loss I have ever suffered. The initial shock of my loss, left me numb and unknowing of what my future would look like without him.

Throughout my grieving process, I learned that grief is a very personal struggle and one that we must each find our own path through. It has taught me to hold all the memories we shared inside of my heart and continue to grow and experience all of life’s joys, despite my wounded heart and I hope that you will too. Tyler’s life and love have inspired me to want to help others to be resilient and find joy in the aftermath of loss.

March 3, 2012 ~ Tyler was awarded the Stanley J. Goodwin Award for exemplary service and volunteerism with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.

Official Press Release:

It is with a heavy heart that Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron announces the passing of St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Intern Tyler Brett Mattingly. On August 11, 2012, Tyler was traveling northbound on Point Lookout Road in the area of Park Hall Road in Lexington Park, Maryland when his vehicle skidded on the wet pavement, crossed the center line and collided with oncoming traffic. Tyler succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Our thoughts and prayers are not only with Tyler and his family, but also with Lindsay Lague and Michael Dillon, the other two individuals injured in the crash and flown from the scene. We pray for their full recovery.

We read headlines almost every day about young drivers who are killed in motor vehicle accidents. The horror of the collision and the heartbreaking loss of life is the story and, even more tragically, it leaves us with the lasting memory of a life lost too soon.

We would like to share a different story, a story beyond the unimaginable sorrow of injury and loss of life. We would like to share a story of an incredible young man, Tyler Mattingly, who knew at a young age he wanted to be a Deputy Sheriff, but not just any Deputy Sheriff. Tyler Mattingly’s life-long dream was to be a St. Mary’s County Deputy Sheriff. In June of 2011 at age 16, Tyler set his dream into motion. On his own, Tyler contacted Sheriff Cameron and requested the opportunity to volunteer during the summer break between his junior and senior years at Great Mills High School. He wanted to learn as much as he could about the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and thought volunteering would be the perfect win/win for him and the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Cameron admired Tyler’s drive and courage to pursue his dream. Tyler submitted his volunteer application, was vetted as all volunteers are, and assigned to the Public Information Office as a member of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office 375th Anniversary Book Committee. Tyler worked alongside accomplished historians, genealogists and preservation experts conducting detailed research into the historic Sheriffs of St. Mary’s County, Maryland. He was excited about his assignment and, through his empirical research, using Sheriff’s Commissions and other historical data, was able to positively identity all St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s. Tyler was so diligent in his research that he was able to discover and identify three Sheriffs who had never before been recorded. His research updated previously documented Sheriffs statistics found and recorded by other historians. Tyler’s maturity, dedication and research methodology rivaled that of recognized research experts. His advanced computer skills helped him to navigate through the internet and Maryland Archive records with uncanny ease.

On June 1, 2012, Sheriff Cameron received a letter from Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist, praising “the exceptionally high standards of documentation” exercised by our research committee, and notifying the Sheriff that the committee’s research, a great deal of which Tyler helped to conduct, will be incorporated into Maryland’s “online historical list and biographies of Maryland Public Officials”.
Tyler was not a Monday through Friday intern. When he wasn’t working on the history books during the week he would spend his time on the weekends riding along with patrol deputies learning as much as he could about the law enforcement profession.

Tyler also worked with Dr. Gordon and Myra Hughes, Gerry Hughes, Grace Mary Brady, Linda Reno, and Carol Moody recording the history of River Springs as one of his internship projects. Tyler loved going to River Springs. He enjoyed documenting hundreds of years of Blackistone history through scanning and preserving old photographs. But the highlight of these visits were all the special treats Myra made for him to eat, especially the home-made pizza, sugar cookies and cupcakes.

Tyler really relished being a greeter and docent at River Springs during the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage held this year on May 5, 2012. He easily related to the guests and his knowledge of the manor home and its contents were apparent to all.

“The Hughes family is honored to have known and worked with this fine young man and will miss him very much. The quality and quantity of work accomplished by Tyler Mattingly this past year will benefit the citizens of St. Mary’s County for years to come.” (Dr. Gordon B. Hughes)

“Tyler Mattingly was wise beyond his seventeen years. He possessed the characteristics and integrity of an aspiring law enforcement professional. There is no doubt in our minds Tyler could have accomplished anything he set his mind to. He was a valued member of our Sheriff’s Office family. We will miss him dearly but remember him fondly. Our hearts go out to Tyler’s mother Terri, his family and his many friends. May they take comfort in knowing the profound difference he made on the lives of those who had the privilege of knowing him.” (Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron)

Tyler’s Badge
Tyler with Sheriff Cameron

During his funeral service, Tyler was deputized posthumously by Sheriff Timothy Cameron of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.

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