Trained to Save People
It was only supposed to be a way of keeping a teenage boy off the streets and out of trouble. But soon after Richard Pearlman's mother signed him up, the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps unlocked a life's passion. For four years, no matter the weather, he was always there, riding two buses from his home in Howard Beach to Forest Hills, determined to learn as much as he could.
On Sept. 11, he put that training into action, almost by accident. An 18-year-old office clerk for a Queens lawyer, Mr. Pearlman had been sent to run an errand at 1 Police Plaza. While there he learned of the World Trade Center attack and raced there alongside police officers.
"He dreamed of becoming an E.M.T.," said Dori Pearlman, who last saw her son in a photo in a newsmagazine surrounded by emergency workers at ground zero. He was scheduled to begin emergency medical technician classes in October.
"He used to always say, 'I'm going to be a famous person one day, Mom. I'm going to help save the world.
'You'll see.' "
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 7, 2001.