Will Sikinger met Andrew Jordan in the third grade in New York. Andrew’s mother was the den leader for their Cub Scouts group, and he would one day take over Will’s paper route when the two were freshmen at West Islip High School, and the two would meet up at Will’s house to shoot hoops on a regular basis.

Will would leave for the Army after high school, and the two friends drifted apart, as many do. Will was in Florida on Sept. 11, 2001, listening to Howard Stern on the radio when he first learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center in his home state that morning. Like Stern correctly suggested early on in that broadcast, Will felt like his country was being attacked.

It would be another month before Will learned about his high school friend.

Andrew Jordan joined Ladder Company 132 in Brooklyn after high school and helped fight some of the most intense blazes the company had ever seen. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was dispatched to the World Trade Center to fight the massive fire and save trapped civilians. His body was never recovered, but his fire engine was found under the wreckage of the north bridge on West Street.

He left behind three young children and a wife, who was carrying their fourth child.

“I always think of Andrew when I think of 9-11,” says Will Sikinger, now a Sanford resident. “His body was never found, and I think about how hard that must be for his family, even to this day. He just disappeared two hours after saying good bye to his family. He never met his youngest son.”

From New York Newsday, 2001:

His wife, Lisa Jordan, said her husband was a dedicated family man. He had taken their son Andrew Jr., 9, to Mets and Yankees games and had built a small baseball park in their backyard to encourage his son’s love of the game. Jordan often wrestled with their son Matthew, 6. He and his daughter, Kelsey, shared a love for Tootsie Rolls, his wife said. “Kelsey remembers that her daddy always brought her Tootsie Rolls,” she said. The couple’s youngest son, Sean, was born on Sept. 26.

Will’s own son was 18 months old on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I remember that evening looking at him and thinking about how his world would be so different from mine,” he said.

When Will learned of Andrew’s death, it hit him hard.

“He was from this amazing large Irish family, and I knew it just devastated them,” he said. “I found out that his wife was very pregnant with their fourth child and that son never met his father. I realized the pain I felt for my own kid growing up in a world gone mad was not quite as bad as it was for so many families.”

Will says he’ll never forget his friend, and he thinks about him every Sept. 11.

“He will always be the good guy shooting hoops in my driveway when we were young and life seemed easier.”