Gladden visited Matula at Granite Falls Athletic Club where he works.
"You really, really saved my life. I'm glad we were given the opportunity to meet. Face-to-face. I know this is a complete surprise," Gladden told Matula, who did not know about the reunion.
Matula said he was wearing camouflage waders before the rescue because he had just removed rainwater from his grandmother's basement.
"You were in full outfit to save someone," Gladden recalled to Matula.
"I was ready," said Matula.
"You were ready and I am so glad that you were ready because I was ready to be saved. Because of you, I'm still here. My family thanks you 100 percent," said Gladden.
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The 26-year-old from Franklinton said she didn't even see the standing water until she was already in it.
Matula, his girlfriend and a relative were headed to the movies when they spotted Gladden's car on the side of the road surrounded by water.
The 18-year-old Rolesville High School senior pulled over and jumped in to help - lifting Gladden out of the car.
"I just swooped her up. I was like, 'Alright the day is probably ruined for you right now but you're not going to get wet,'" Matula told Gladden during the rescue. "In that situation, God put me there just completely prepared. I don't think there could have been any other way that I could have been better prepared."
Gladden said the experience gave her a second chance and new hope. "It taught me that there are still good people out here."
Matula comes from a family of first responders. His father is a firefighter. His sister is a registered nurse. Matula said he was inspired to help others after suffering a head injury that left him in the hospital for a month.
Matula graduates from Rolesville High School on Friday. He will attend East Carolina University this fall where he will major in nursing.