Out of tragedy, a lifelong friendship
In the thick black smoke of the fiery Pentagon, computer analyst Wayne Sinclair was trapped and terrified. Then, out of nowhere, a deep voice called out.
It was Sergeant Isaac Hoopii, the burly officer with a Hawaiian accent.
“I kept using my voice, come toward my voice, over here, come to my voice,” Hoopii said.
Sinclair did just that. And that day, sergeant Hoopii saved Wayne Sinclair’s life along with more than a dozen others.
“It's real unique because if it hadn't been for Isaac I probably wouldn't be here, and a lot of people in the Pentagon probably would not be here without him,” Sinclair said.
When ABC7 first met Sinclair in 2003, he was still in a lot of pain. He showed ABC7 photos of the third degree burns all over his body.
Recently, he invited ABC7 to his retirement retreat in Hancock, Maryland. Life is peaceful now but you can still see the scars on his arms, and he has trouble gripping his fingers, especially in the extreme heat and cold.
What he can easily get his hands and arms around, though, is his 7-month-old granddaughter and his three other grandchildren. All of them born since 911 and all of them gifts in his life.
“I wouldn't have had the experience of watching my three children and four grandchildren and being with my wife, and good friends,” he said.
And one of his closest friends is the man he calls his guardian angel. Hoopii is invited to family reunions and the two men talk at least once a year.
“I just let him talk, only time I say, ‘Hey I'm just happy you're alive, I was there at the right time to assist you, I'm glad we're friends now,’" Hoopii said.
Despite Hoopii's heroic efforts on 9/11, on this anniversary he can't help but have questions, especially whether he did enough.
Wayne Sinclair is living proof he did more than enough.