- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) - Two lifelong friends, nearly inseparable since first grade, find themselves on different paths for the first time.

Jacob Grow and Daniel Eddelman became friends when the Grow family moved to the west side of Columbus, near where Eddelman’s family lived. Both were preparing to begin classes at Southside Elementary School.

“We didn’t know it at that time, but we actually only lived about a mile from each other,” Grow said. “We got along really well from the beginning, and we had sleepovers and stuff from the first grade.”

By second grade, they were on the same baseball team, with their fathers as coaches.

Their friendship solidified when both were in advanced Academic Challenge classes for three years, beginning in the fourth grade.

“That’s when the bond got really strong because they were doing everything together,” Kevin Grow, Jacob’s father, told The Republic (http://bit.ly/1pTzu73 ).

Eddelman has three sisters, while Grow has one sister. But neither has a brother.

So they filled that role for each other.

Through their years at Central Middle School and Columbus North High School, they remained best friends, competing on the same sports teams and playing in the band together.

Eddelman was also a frequent guest on the Grow family vacations.

Now their decision to pursue careers as surgeons in different specialty fields will separate them for at least six years.

In a few weeks, Grow, 27, will begin residency at University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, specializing in pediatric plastic surgery.

About the same time, Eddelman, 26, will head to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago for seven years as a neurosurgical resident.

“We always knew this time would come, and we were apart for a while in college, so we’re ready for it,” Grow said.

Sheryl Grow, Jacob’s mother, said the two were always just a good fit for each other.

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