RICHLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - It's been a decade since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Five West Michigan natives were killed in the terrorist attacks, including 22-year-old Richland native Bradley Hoorn.
Hoorn's name was read aloud at Ground Zero along with the names of hundreds of other victims on Sunday morning.
Roger Cornelius, Hoorn's former tennis coach, teacher and friend spoke to 24 Hour News 8 about his personal memories of Hoorn. He told us that Hoorn's tragic death caused a void that his family and friends feel each day.
Cornelius recalled the last time he saw Hoorn in August of 2001.
"We hugged and he talked with me," said Cornelius. "It was just so marvelous and moving that a former student would come over and spend time with a former teacher [and] coach when he was so busy getting ready for New York. That's the way Brad was."
He said Hoorn was so excited to start his new job at the World Trade Center that he could actually hear it in Hoorn's voice and see it in his face.
He said the young Yale graduate was ready to make his mark on the world.
"He was destined for greatness," Cornelius said about his friend.
The 22-year-old was at his investment firm job on the north tower's 93rd floor the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
"It was at least several days before I found out about Brad," said Cornelius. "It was a shock, and I and most of us just wept and wept."
Even ten years later, Cornelius had a hard time holding back those tears when he remembered the young man he knew for years.
"The hurt for a loss this enormous comes and goes. It's somewhat like the tide. Initially it was a tsunami or a tidal wave and one big wave after another. After awhile the distance between the waves does tend to grow a little broader and we can come up and gulp for air for a little bit longer."
Even though the pain never quite goes away, Cornelius said he knows the vibrant young man wouldn't want people to focus on the tragedy of his death. He said the young man he knew would rather everyone live each day they have to the fullest.
"I think he would want us to be strong, courageous, to love one another and to keep moving on," said Cornelius. He also said Hoorn would want people "to hold one another more often, and to express the love that we have for one another," said Cornelius.
There is a fund that was started to honor Hoorn. It's called Brad Hoorn Memorial Endowment Fund and is a part of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation.
You can go to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation website more information on the fund.
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