A New York City Fire Department firefighter who was fatally injured while prepping for a training exercise at work saved the lives of five others through organ donation, including two fellow FDNY firefighters.
Veteran Firefighter William “Billy” Moon died after a 20-foot fall at his Brooklyn fire station on Dec. 12 left him with a severe head injury. Moon was an organ donor and his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys went to five people.
One of those people was retired FDNY Lt. Terrence Jordan, 64, who developed a 9/11-related illness after responding to the World Trade Center and needed new lungs, Long Island News 12 reported. Jordan had end-stage COPD and emphysema.
“I was in such bad shape from one moment. And now I look at myself and it’s like I have a new lease on life because of the Moon family,” said Jordan, who might have died without the donation.
Now breathing on his own, Jordan needed supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day before the transplant, according to the Long Island outlet.
Jordan said he feels a special connection to Moon and his family and is “eternally grateful” for a second chance at life, calling the donation “a Christmas miracle.”
“Billy’s lungs have literally breathed life… into Terrance Jordan. Made him part of Terrance’s story,” FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said at Moon’s funeral. Kavanagh also announced another organ recipient was a retired FDNY firefighter.
Jordan and Moon did not know each other and never worked together in the fire service, but after asking around to see “what kind of a fella” Moon was, Jordan said he seemed like his kind of guy.
As a father of seven and a grandfather of nine, he said he hopes to meet Moon’s family, so he can thank them.
On Tuesday, Moon’s widow, Kristina, talked to probationary firefighters at the FDNY Fire Academy about his death and the importance of organ donation.
“Right now, one person every 10 minutes is added to the transplant list. Seventeen people die daily waiting for a transplant. There are over 105,000 people currently awaiting transplants in the United States, and only three in 1,000 people will die in a way that allows them to donate,” she said. “So, I’ll say it again- location matters- you matter.”
She explained that even when things were not going the way they wanted in the hospital, she knew his organs would help others, which he really believed in.
“It’s an infinite life that he can donate to someone else, and someone he donates to can donate to another person, and the fact that two of them are local and are NYC firemen is even a bigger part of his legacy,” Moon said.
Moon was 47 years old when he died. He left behind his wife and two young daughters. The FDNY said his legacy of heroism lives on and will impact the next generation of firefighters.
“Bill chose to give life after his death,” his wife said. “He is truly our forever hero.”