Tom Cooper, terrorism-drill participant, New Brunswick, N.J.
By Interview by Corey Hajim

(FORTUNE Magazine) – ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE WEEKS AFTER I RETIRED at age 59, I got bored. I had worked at Citgo for 22 years driving a truck and 12 years in management. I drove a limo for a little while, but then I got a letter from my local first aid and rescue squad looking for volunteers. I decided that even though I used to get light-headed at the sight of blood, I would give it a try. I studied and took the courses and became an EMT at 64. That was 18 years ago. I have been riding with the squad ever since, and I recently started participating in terrorism drills. The last drill I did was an outbreak of pneumonic plague. I volunteered to be a patient. The doctor came around and asked me how I felt. I had a history of leukemia, chills, diarrhea, but I was still considered low-risk. While all this is going on, people are walking around with clipboards evaluating. It is all about communication and planning. On 9/11 they just weren't prepared, and there was a lot of miscommunication. So that's why we do the drills. You would never believe how much bureaucracy is involved. Who's in charge? The town, the county, or the federal government? I don't worry about myself, but I worry about my grandkids. If we don't prepare for the inevitable, who will take care of them? -- Interview by Corey Hajim