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Interview with Sandie A. Medina, January 25, 2004

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2004-01-25
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Narrator affiliation: Administrator, Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Company (REECo); Project Manager, NTS Medical Surveillance Project Office
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Medina, Sandie A. Interview, 2004 January 25. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1kk94q3x

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Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Sandie Medina January 25, 2005 Las Vegas, Nevada Interview Conducted By Suzanne Becker © 2007 by UNLV Libraries Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews conducted by an interviewer/ researcher with an interviewee/ narrator who possesses firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. The goal is to create an archive which adds relevant material to the existing historical record. Oral history recordings and transcripts are primary source material and do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion. Rather, oral history is a spoken remembrance or dialogue, reflecting the interviewee’s memories, points of view and personal opinions about events in response to the interviewer’s specific questions. Oral history interviews document each interviewee’s personal engagement with the history in question. They are unique records, reflecting the particular meaning the interviewee draws from her/ his individual life experience. Produced by: The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project Departments of History and Sociology University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 89154- 5020 Director and Editor Mary Palevsky Principal Investigators Robert Futrell, Dept. of Sociology Andrew Kirk, Dept. of History The material in the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project archive is based upon work supported by the U. S. Dept. of Energy under award number DEFG52- 03NV99203 and the U. S. Dept. of Education under award number P116Z040093. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these recordings and transcripts are those of project participants— oral history interviewees and/ or oral history interviewers— and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U. S. Department of Energy or the U. S. Department of Education. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Sandie Medina January 25, 2005 Conducted by Suzanne Becker Table of Contents Introduction: born Santa Fe, NM, family background, education ( elementary education and child technology, New Mexico Highlands University) 1 Move to Las Vegas, NV, hired as clerk- typist for REECo, promoted to senior clerk in DoD Field Operations Department, NTS ( ca. 1970) 2 Job description 3 Thoughts on work at the NTS, radiation and health issues 4 End of REECo contract ( 1995), work with Bechtel Nevada ( 1996), current position as Union Project Manager, NTS Medical Surveillance Project Office, Southern Nevada Building & Construction Trades Council ( 1996- present) 4 Details of work re: medical screening program for former NTS workers ( in re: compensation for radiation exposure injuries) 6 Working at the NTS: visiting the tunnels, preparation for tests 11 Feelings re: working at the NTS vs. illnesses and deaths of workers 12 Discusses need for publicity and continuation of Medical Surveillance Project in conjunction with RECA ( Downwinders) and EEOICPA ( NTS employees) 13 Talks about role in assisting applicants through Medical Surveillance Project 17 Response of participants in Medical Surveillance Project 19 Awareness of DOE re: possible radiation exposure and necessity for Medical Surveillance Project and compensation programs 22 Influence of presidential administrations on programs, and possible reactivation of the NTS 22 Effects of moratorium ( 1992) on NTS employment 23 Confidentiality as an aspect of the job at the NTS 24 Treatment of female workers at the NTS 25 Commuting by bus to the NTS 26 Perceptions of protesters and strikes at the NTS 28 Conclusion: possibilities of alternative funding for the Medical Surveillance Project, changes in Las Vegas, impact of NTS on growth of Las Vegas 30 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Sandie Medina January 25, 2005 in Las Vegas, NV Conducted by Suzanne Becker [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 2, Disc 1. Suzanne Becker: If you could just start with your name and some background about you, where you’re from, maybe a little bit about your family, how you made your way out to Las Vegas, or if you’re from Las Vegas, your background. Sandie Medina: My name is Sandie A. Medina. I was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I attended Loretto Academy in Santa Fe. Which academy? Loretto Academy– High School. It is now closed. It closed in 1968 when I graduated. After graduation, I went to New Mexico Highlands University and I studied elementary education and child technology. I am an only girl. I have one brother, and a sister- in- law and three nieces and nephews. After college, I came out here to the [ Nevada] test site. Basically what I did is, I went to Hawaii for two months with my sorority sister. My goal was to get my master’s degree within five years. I was an early graduate from high school, so I was only fifteen when I went into college. I didn’t turn sixteen until two months later. So by the time I was twenty, my goal was to have my master’s. I went gung- ho, carrying twenty to twenty- four credit hours and going year- round. I was burned out a little bit, so I went to Hawaii and oh, I just need a break. I need a break. So at that time, I came out to Las Vegas. My grandmother and grandfather lived here, and my mother had four sisters and four [ brothers- in- law] that lived out here in Las Vegas. So I came out to visit Grandma and I figured, well, I’m just going to go take the test for REECo [ Reynolds UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 Electrical and Engineering Company]. I’d never had a job in my life. Basically I’ve only had two jobs in my lifetime: the Nevada Test Site and what I’m presently doing. So I took the test for REECo. There was a big strike going on. I spent a month here, I went back to New Mexico, and I got a call the last of September if I wanted to come out here to work. I had not [ yet] gone into the fall semester of college. I just basically wanted a break. That was it. Yes, I wanted a break. I convinced my mommy and my daddy to let me have one semester off. They said fine. So I came out here and got hired, money on the spot, and never have been back since. I’ve lived in Las Vegas thirty- four years. Wow! So you’ve seen some changes? Yes, a lot of changes. What were you hired to do at REECo? My first job, I was just a clerk- typist. OK. Is that what you took the test for? Yes. I took the test for clerical. Well, it was just basically a typing test, and then an interview. Being that I had never worked anywhere else, it was no problem. But I took the typing test, passed it, and I got hired as a clerk- typist. I worked only forty days as a clerk- typist, and then there was a senior clerk position available in Area 12. The way REECo used to work then is you could not bid out on another position until your probation period was over. You had to wait ninety days. But being that I had never worked anywhere and I bid on it, they would rather hire somebody in company than go out of company. So I went to Area 12 forty days after I started out at the test site. I remained in Area 12, in Field Operations UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 Department, Department of Defense [ DoD], twenty- five years. I handled all administrative and clerical support for all underground testing, twenty- five years. What kind of clearance did you need for that? I had a top secret clearance. I got my Q- clearance within three months and my top secret clearance within six months. Because I’d never worked anywhere. I’d only been back home, to college and out here. So you didn’t have much of a history, then. No, I don’t. So I went from clerk- typist to senior clerk to administrative clerical assistant, supervise— How was that? How’d you feel about that? Was that exciting or was it just fairly run- of- the- mill? Yes, I enjoyed my job. And basically that I’m single. I have never married. No children. I used to get up at three in the morning, catch my bus at 4: 15, and I’d get home seven at night. From Las Vegas, you’d catch the bus out to the test site. [ 00: 05: 00] From Las Vegas. I commuted 250 miles a day for twenty- five years. And during my whole twenty- five years I was out there, I kept a room there. I kept a room there with three, four changes [ of clothes] because there were times that I wouldn’t even be able to come home. With a lot of pre- and- post- shot events, many times I was not able to come home at all. Can you describe a little bit what you did— your job description? At the Nevada Test Site? It was handling all administrative for all the supervisors, and that included all the superintendents, mechanical, electrical, the project managers. Plus I did the time cards. At that time, we had daily time cards, and at one time we had up to eight hundred of them. So those had to be done daily. All the reports had to be out to the tunnel walkers or whoever was filling out the cards. They had to be brought into my office. I had to check them all, oversee them UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 completely, make sure that they were picked up that day, because the cards were done on a daily basis. Plus covered the phone, and at one time I oversaw— there was about four different tunnel operations going on, so I would go from tunnel to tunnel to help the other clerical support. So you got to see a lot at the test site. Yes, I did. Well, all of Area 12, and a lot of the other areas. I was in a lot of the other areas, but I was based out of Area 12. What were your thoughts, working at the test site at that time? Did you ever think about issues of radiation or health issues? That never even crossed my mind any way at all until I took this position that I’m in now [ Union Project Manager, NTS Medical Surveillance Project Office, Southern Nevada Building & Construction Trades Council]. At that time, it was just [ an] excellent job. I enjoyed the people. They became my friends. Like Bill Flangas tells everybody, I raised her from a pup. They were my family. I spent more time with these guys on the bus. And as far as the diseases that we’re testing for now, with the position I’m in now, [ it] never crossed my mind any way at all. And they never talked about that? No, that was never discussed. I think if it would have been, they wouldn’t have had the workers there. The guys would not have worked. If they knew now, the illnesses and the funerals and everything that I’ve been to, if the guys knew when we were working out there, they wouldn’t have worked. So everything was hush- hush. Even a lot of the— unless they were really high up, I think were in the red about everything going on, as well. But you think they had an idea that this was— Oh, they had to. Definitely. Yes. They had to. Especially when you hear the stories from some of these guys now where they would pull their badges or have them put their badges in a bucket, UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 and— why are they doing that? [ They were told,] Pick up your badges on your way out. Put your badges underneath your clothing. Just different things that they’ve had them do. The stories have been astronomical. And I worked there in the office and didn’t even really know all this— what was going on. Well, and why would you? Why would I? Right. Everything was just a big high powers- that- be. It’s interesting. Other folks I’ve talked to have talked about this. Some have never even had access to some of their records. Right. And I find that [ a] pretty consistent thread. That’s even hard right now. A lot of these guys are requesting their medical records, and they get their medical records, but they’re only giving them what they want to give them. They’re not getting everything that they should. So it’s really hard, in retrospect, when they’ve got these compensation claims going. And what can you do? There’s nothing much they can do. Now how did you transition from the test site into this job that you have now? I left the Nevada Test Site December of ’ 95 when REECo demised. I was not picked up by Bechtel [ Nevada] when Bechtel took over January 1st in ’ 96. I did get called back with Bechtel in March of ’ 96, and I worked with them until September of ’ 96. I resigned from Bechtel and took this position. And the way I found this position is because the business manager at that time, Robert Trenkel [ sp], who’s a very dear friend of mine, he’s the one that started the [ 00: 10: 00] program with Dr. [ Lewis] Pepper from Boston University [ BU]. He knew I was out of work. I had been hired back with Bechtel as what they refer to as a temp. Ten dollars an hour. And no benefits, nothing. They basically would call me when they wanted me. I was very discouraged, UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 and Rob had told me to hold in there. He was working on something. He says, You are the perfect person for it, but I can’t tell you about it. So finally in August he told me it was a go, the program was going to start October 1st. And at that time when I knew this position was going to come up, Bechtel did offer me a full- time position out at the test site. Interesting. What did they offer you? About a couple dollars more than what I had left REECo with. But I refused it. And what type of position was it? It was clerical supervisor, and I refused it. But they were not aware of this position I had. So in a way, I’m glad I did because that job was demised in December. So if I would have taken that position, I would’ve been without a job in December and this one would have gone by the wayside. So I took this job, as I stated, October 1st of ’ 96. Wow. And what officially is the title of this job? Union Project Manager. I joined the union. I belong to the Laborers’ Local 872. This is for the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trade Councils? Yes, my paycheck is signed from Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council, but I work in affiliation with Boston University and the University of California, San Francisco [ UCSF]. OK. And you’re the medical surveillance—? It’s a medical screening program for former Nevada Test Site workers. Can you talk about it a little bit, the origins, its evolution and your growth with it? Well, as I stated, it was started with Rob Trenkel and Dr. Pepper. We are one of twelve cooperative agreements that were funded by the Department of Energy [ DOE] to do this research. We test Nevada Test Site participants, anybody that worked out there between the years UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 of 1951 and 1992. And they worked at NRDS [ Nuclear Rocket and Development Station], which is the nuclear rocket development era. They worked here at Losee Road in the B- building [ DOE offices in North Las Vegas]. Worked in underground testing, atmospheric, to drill holes for the shafts. They just had to work out there one year or longer in order to be qualified for our screening. And that’s males, females. Are there time frames on this? Nineteen fifty- one to 1992. The whole history of the test site. Yes, the whole time. Had to work out there for one year or more. The reason we do that is because for the compensation program. We test everybody for radiation, asbestos, silicosis, diesel exhaust, thyroid disease, hearing loss, and for beryllium. And if they were to come up, let’s say, for beryllium or silicosis, and they were out there less than a year, they’re not eligible for the compensation. To date we’ve done about close to thirty- five hundred people. We have another screening coming up now in April, which is basically supposed to be our last screening unless we get funded again and DOE continues the project. And this is what I’m working really hard on right now with all the participants and the unions. I hate to see this program stop. There’s so much more work to be done. Right. Was it originally set up just to have a limited life span? It was set up for five years and we’ve been getting a year- to- year extension, but now DOE is basically going to stop all the programs. Any idea why? [ No response] No. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 How do you contact people, or do they contact you? Through the unions. I work closely with the business managers, but a lot of it has been— I knew a lot of people. Being out there twenty- five years, you know a lot of the guys. So when it first started, I had addresses of a lot of people. And by word of mouth. We have also gotten lists from the Department of Motor Vehicles, which has helped immensely. With DOL [ Department of Labor], the resource center is sending us a lot of people, as well. I work very closely with them. Right. [ 00: 15: 00] End Track 2, Disc 1. [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 3, Disc 1. There are specifically various types of cancers that would make people eligible, if that’s the right word, for compensation. Right. We don’t test for cancer. If the doctor— Just the radiation— Radiation, asbestos, silicosis, diesel exhaust, thyroid disease, the hearing loss, and beryllium. We’ve only been testing for beryllium since 2002, but cancer we do not test for. Now if the doctors were to see something, especially in the lungs, they would contact the individual and tell them that they need to proceed further, to see somebody else. And then there are different types of compensation program for the cancer. Well, basically there’s only— oh, for the cancer, no, there is only the one. The Las Vegas Resource Center. What type of compensation are they eligible for? It’s $ 150,000 one- time payment, tax- free, plus they get ongoing medical expenses. And is that just to the actual person, or is that to family members? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 They have changed the law. It is now for spouses and children. If the spouses are deceased, then it goes to the children. What is the process that folks need to go through in order to come into the program? They just contact me. There’s a form that we call our “ initial contact form.” We get their demographic information, and by that form I make the decision if they should be tested for beryllium or not, which three- fourths of the people are. But anything less than a year, we notify them by phone or by mail that they’re not eligible for the program. [ When] they call us, we get all this information: Did you work out there a year or not?, so that we don’t have to send a notification packet. If it was less than a year, we let them know at that time. Can you talk about generally the types of folks that you get? Where are the areas that most of the people that come through your program, where have they been? When we first started, it was all Area 12. Then as the program progressed, we were getting a lot of people [ from] what we referred to as the Flats, which is Area[ s] 2, 3, and 6. Now we’re getting a lot of participants from the NRDS era, which was 1951 to basically 1962, and Losee Road. People that worked downtown here in Las Vegas at Losee Road. Even if you were just a secretary, a clerk, or whatever, but did work in those B- buildings, they are qualified for our program. That has only been added within the last year- and- a- half, Losee Road, after the one person that they found with the beryllium. So we test everybody there now. [ 00: 03: 09] End Track 3, Disc 1. [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 4, Disc 1. It seems like, given the longevity of the test site, that these programs are fairly recent and seem— in your opinion were they slow to come about? Or were the [ in] the works for a while? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 The Cold War ended in 1992. The last underground test was Hunters Trophy, [ 18] September of ’ 92. [ Hunter���s Trophy was the last tunnel test conducted at Area 12. The last test at the NTS was Divider, a shaft test in Area 3, on 09/ 23/ 1992]. Of course Chemical Kiloton was done September of ’ 93 at P- Tunnel. But they wouldn’t have had a program like this while they were still doing underground testing. It was after the Cold War. Sure. I guess if they had had a program like you’d said earlier, they may not have had a— No, we would not have had any underground testing either. The folks that come through, what is their sense? How do they feel about this juxtaposition of having worked out at the test site and now, as a result, they’re ill? A lot of them have stated to me, Let’s face it. We all worked out there. They didn’t mind the trip. The pay was excellent. The benefits and the pay were excellent, which [ was] not [ like] anything that you could get in Las Vegas. They feel like I do. I think that if one would have known what they were working with, the chemicals and everything, they would not have had people. And a lot of them are really discouraged, but who’s to say that it came from there? A lot of these guys worked all around. I mean I can see the ones that started at the test site and retired from the test site. But a lot of these guys that work on what they called travel cards; they would go from place to place. So I think this is a big thing right now with that dose reconstruction. They have to prove that it did come from the Nevada Test Site, which in some cases they have and, others— it’s just further research on it. When you refer to “ dose reconstruction,” can you explain that? Dose reconstruction, that’s done from our badges. We had a dosimetry badge and it was changed out every three months, or monthly. From what I’m finding out now, there were many cases that UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 they were changed out daily, depending on some of the areas or the hot spots that the guys were working in. I was not aware of [ that] until after I took this job. Right. And you were out there while that was going on. I was out there, yes. But I was not in the tunnels. I worked in the office. I would go underground maybe once a month, if at all that much. Basically I didn’t go underground. I was very claustrophobic. But you’ve been in the tunnels. Oh yes, I’ve been inside every single one of them. What is that like? It’s very scary. Like I stated, I get claustrophobic knowing that there’s only one way out. And these are deep. Yes. Well, they go right in, underneath the mountain, straight in. Not down. Now the down holes, I have never been [ in], other than the shaft, 15- shaft. But the tunnels are scary. I would never be one to be a craftsperson like a lot of the operator girls. I was offered the position many, many times but I turned them down because of my claustrophobia. Sure. That makes sense. I didn’t care for underground at all. But you were out there twenty- five years and probably witnessed or were involved in a lot of tests? Yes. Yes. What was that like? What was it like on test days, or preparing for a test? Oh, preparing for a test was a lot, a lot of paperwork. It was our responsibility to get the reentry teams together, make sure they were notified when they had to report. When they didn’t, the UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 other ones we had to furlough, because daily time cards still had to be done, event or no event. I was not at the tunnel itself. I was usually at a holding place in Mercury. And in later years they had us in a holding place in a trailer at the Yucca Lake. But most of the time, I was in Mercury. And how many people generally were involved in a test? Oh, my goodness. Depending on the time period, at one time we had over eight hundred people working three shifts. To prepare for a test. Yes. That’s a lot of people. Yes. In the mid- eighties, it was very, very busy because we were working on one, and then starting on another one, so you had to have people working in both areas. [ 00: 05: 00] You had mentioned a little bit earlier that you’re almost doing two different— at opposite ends of the job spectrum from the test site to this [ project]. Yes. How is that? I mean it doesn’t sound like you have many regrets about working at the test site. No, I loved working at the Nevada Test Site. What is hard to take now is all the illnesses. I’m going to be honest, since the first of January I’ve attended four funerals. I just went to one last week. And that’s hard for me because I knew these people. I knew these people and it’s really, really hard. There [ are] so many sick. So many of them that are sick. And you’re just seeing them going further down, down, down. And that’s hard to take. In the back of my mind— is this what the test site has done to these poor people? That’s what’s sad. Thank God I’m in good health, still. But who’s to say—? Do you think that the public is aware of this? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 I think there’s been enough publicity about it. I wish there was more publicity about our program, personally, and more so right now. They’re looking at shutting us down. What’s going to happen to everybody? Who are they going to turn to? Where are they going to go? There’s not going to be anybody out here to help them. Not anybody to help them. They are supposed to be working on some kind of a national screening program, but it’s not going to be like the guys come here to Vegas and see the excellent doctors that we have from BU and UCSF to do the screenings. I just think it’s horrible what DOE is trying to do. And we have been all the project. I’m bragging. But what I hear from my other colleagues is that we’ve been the ones that have done the most. We have done the most of any of the projects. So it’s been a successful program. Yes, it has. Why do you think that they’re shutting it down? I think due to funding. And I figure, what is it? These are people’s lives at stake. That’s what really gets me. It’s their lives at stake. I’m not saying that it was all the Nevada Test Site, but at least they have a place to turn to, where to go to find out. So you said this is a research program that’s in conjunction with BU. Yes. Well, it is Boston University and the University of California, San Francisco. Why they put it at Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council— that was me. I joined the union and they had to have somebody from Las Vegas to handle the other paperwork that needed to be done with it. And like I said, when I took the position, many of the guys that I was talking to, Well, what union do you belong to? I would say, Union Project Manager, but I was not ever union. I joined the union when I took this job. Which is good. So you weren’t unionized out at the test site. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 No. I was what they referred to as NIMBU. Non- union, non- exempt. OK, but many of the miners and engineers were unionized. Everybody had— no, not engineers. Not the engineers. No. Some of the engineers were out of IBEW [ International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers] but as far as the office staff itself, they were all non- union. Everybody, all crafts, had to be union. You could not work out there unless you were union. Now see, I worked in the construction part of it. The unions have a maintenance contract and they have a construction contract. I worked with all the construction, underground construction. Now you just handle test site employees. Yes. Not the Downwinders. Oh yes, those are Downwinders. That’s NRDS. Yes, those are Downwinders. Atmospheric. What we refer to as— OK. Right. Where do a majority of those folks come from? Downwinders is everything other than Clark County. So you get a lot of folks from— When we first started the program, they had what they referred to as a RECA program, which is a Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. That was before the EEOICPA [ Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act] program came into effect. That’s where the Downwinders came in. I was still working with just the [ 00: 10: 00] medical screening, but I have access to all the forms. So by word of mouth, people found out that I have the forms. And then I UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 was taught how to fill out the forms, so I had many people come in here and I helped a lot of people with that. With the RECA program, as well. OK. So particularly, this has only been going for five years, it’s— No, we’ve been— the program started— Since ’ 96. Ninety- six, right. So nine years. Our first medical screenings were done September of ’ 98. The year of ’ 97, we did a lot of focus group meetings, like with the operators and the miners, the pipe fitters and the wire men. We had a lot of focus group meetings. We did a lot of outbound work, going out to the test site, talking to different areas and sections of people that had worked out there or that were still working out there for Bechtel. It’s possible that somebody can come in for a screening and maybe not have signs of anything— Oh yes, there’s a lot of them. But a couple of years later will develop things? Well, see, this is what the thing is. When we started the program, it was that in three years we would call everybody back to be prescreened. Now, being that this April is supposed to be our last screening, I’ve got paperwork in there right now, and this is what really hurts, and Lew is, you know, Dr. Pepper — everybody’s first name— Lew is up against a fence, too, because we don’t know what to do. We’ve got over three hundred people that need to be rescreened, that have contacted us, and we’re just having them on hold. Basically we’re telling them they’re not going to be seen again. So basically they’re in the middle of this program and it’s just going to end. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 16 Yes. It’s just going to end. Completely. So that’s it. That’s it. And there’s no other place for them to go with this? No. No. They’re supposed to do some kind of a national program [ but] not everything has been set up on that. I don’t know anything about it yet. So right now, the screening that we have in April for four days is just new people, and more than half of them already filled for that screening. But I get calls daily, daily, daily, and we’re getting forms in daily from rescreeners. By the rescreeners, I’m talking about people that we tested three years ago and told them that they would be called back in three years to be retested. But now we can’t— we don’t know where to turn to. This is why it’s so disheartening. There was a letter that was written by Boston University. I have given it out to the business managers. As far as I know of, only one has followed through. Tommy White, the business manager from the Laborers’ Union, December 4th ( the date of my birthday) mailed this letter out to forty- five hundred members of the Laborers’ Union, telling them about our program coming to an end and if they would please call our Nevada congressmen and senators— we listed all six of them with their local numbers and their Washington, D. C. phone numbers— to call them to please continue our program. And that’s basically what I’m trying to do now. Are you directly working with any congress people right now? Senator Harry Reid has been very supportive. Right now he’s in a higher position in Washington, so I don’t hear much from him. Shelley Berkley, we have talked to her. Now that Dr. Pepper was here for a screening, he did go and speak to Senator Harry Reid, and he also went to John Ensign’s office. From what I’m gathering, I attend the [ REECo] retirees’ breakfast every month, UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 17 some of the guys were telling me that when they were making the phone calls, they were telling them at the offices that they [ have been] getting a lot of phone calls. So I plan on going to the breakfast again in February to hand out the letter again and tell the guys to keep on hounding them. We need the political support in order to keep this going. Right. Absolutely. You bet. Like I said, right now it’s very disheartening and very sad. It’s even sadder when you attend— like I went to this funeral last week. What’s going to happen? Not everybody is sick, granted, but I figure they still have— the government has enough money to keep this program funded. There is enough money