About the Author

Short Bio from the Book’s Back Cover 

Tom Cooney Jr., BA ’72, Temple University, a veteran of the USAF, served 23 years on the Philadelphia PD achieving executive rank. In 1984, while a captain, he started a part-time business providing services to police and security organizations. In 1993 he retired from the PPD to devote full-time to his business. While conducting seminars in 1999, he met his future wife, Irene, a Philadelphia police officer. When she was diagnosed with 4th stage cancer in 2003, he decided to fully retire to devote his time to support and care for Irene through her terrible illness.

[Additional note regarding my education: I completed all classwork toward a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) but did not submit a master’s thesis and, therefore, did not earn the full degree. During the early to mid-eighties, while attending classes for the MBA at St. Joseph’s University, I had a second son (1982); I was going through a divorce from my first wife (1984); I was successfully studying for the captain’s promotional exam (1985); I incorporated the business which I began by preparing other officers for promotional exams (1985); and, while being very busy conducting my seminars and fulfilling the increased responsibilities which came with the higher ranks, I studied successfully for the position of full inspector (1987). My business was becoming more successful and, therefore, time went by and I decided to forego submitting a thesis.]

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For a very thorough guide for both cancer sufferers and caregivers, please visit the following website. It is very worthwhile information: Quick Start Guide for Cancer patients and Caregivers. And here is Dr. Elana Miller’s “44 DOs and DON’Ts”  when a friend or relative has been diagnosed with cancer (actually, any serious illness). When you click to make the link, just scroll down a few inches. Very, very useful guidance.

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To Begin, a Dedication to Irene:

This is another poem written by Brian Brill, a friend, who has been able through his read of the book, to express in his rhyme those thoughts and feelings I have of my late wife, Irene.

           My Beautiful Irene

In lover’s eyes no sights like mine,
Came ever into view.
No eyes have seen the beauty,
Nor the love I have for you.

No voice has ever whispered,
The words you had to say.
No hand was ever held like mine,
I miss you more with every day.

No eyes have ever taken in,
The smile that I have seen.
The smile that I have cherished,
Of my beautiful Irene.

No arms have ever held someone,
To make one feel secure.
Each day I wish to see you,
Come walking in the door.

No laugh has ever laughed like yours,
No tears have ever cried.
For now on Earth ’tis I must wait,
To again be by your side.

No this does not mean I’m better,
My tears still fall like rain.
But the love I have is stronger,
To overcome my pain……………...BBBrill 9/20/13

 

And Now, Irene’s Messages First

[In my mind Irene was and continues to be my co-author. We’ll get to my fuller bio later]:

One of my objectives in writing this book was to bring heightened awareness of the need for early detection and prevention of colon cancer. The 9 year struggle I write about would have been very different and, instead of being a monumental battle, those 9 years could have been even more full of love and happiness–except for the lack of early detection.

When Irene was 4 months short of being 50 years old, the current threshold for a colonoscopy recommendation by the medical community, she inquired of her family doctor if she should have a colonoscopy. When asked by the doctor if colon cancer was in her family, she simply said, “Not that I know of.” No one in her family, including her siblings, had ever had any kind of testing for the disease.

The fact is there was little chance, if any, Irene would have that knowledge, beyond her mother and father, neither of which had colon cancer. Her Ukrainian born parents were both prisoners of war during World War II. They were rounded-up by the Nazis when the Germans attacked and occupied the Ukraine during WW II. Irene’s parents spent the rest of the war in Germany. Very few records were maintained by the Third Reich regarding the medical condition of its slave labor population. Very little at all is known of the extended families of either Irene’s mother or father, let alone their medical conditions.

Irene’s family physician said there was no need for Irene to undergo a colonoscopy procedure: she was under the age of 50 (by 4 months); and there was no evidence of colon cancer in her family. What a shame. About a year later, Irene was diagnosed with 4th stage colon cancer. The disease had metastasized to her liver. Of course, the disease had most likely existed at the time of her visit to her doctor and it can’t be known how widespread it was at that time. But, maybe, it would have only been at stage 3, or maybe only at stage 2, in its encroachment within Irene’s body. Earlier detection (in her early 40s, e.g.,) would certainly have provided the best detection and outcome.

Unfortunately, however, a very strong debate centers around the costs for a colonoscopyor sigmoidoscopy, which is much less expensive, and whether or not either test is helpful in detecting, then preserving and extending the lives of colon cancer patients. I can say in Irene’s case, a much earlier detection would have saved millions of dollars. Irene had wonderful insurance during most of her illness. She was a police officer and, even after retirement, she had full coverage for 5 years. We obtained high deductible, copay, and coinsurance coverage when that 5 years’ coverage stopped. While the arguments continue and charges for the procedures spiral up, people die–they also undergo the procedures needlessly, too. I understand both sides of that discussion. I will leave it to others to resolve it.

As for me, assuming I have provided for myself and family through gainful employment, even if I did not have insurance coverage, after shopping around, I would negotiate down the total costs of the procedure once I believed it to be necessary (probably under $2000 including sedation, etc.), then I would pay out-of-pocket that final price just for my own peace of mind and preventive action. I would do that even if I was under the age of 50 and even if I was not aware of colon cancer in my family. We spend that much on other kinds of insurance policies to cover perceived risk, don’t we? You, as a responsible person, wouldn’t think about driving your car without insurance would you? I would urge others to do the same thing instead of buying that new car (get a used one), and think about the very best Christmas present you could give to yourself or a loved one, a colonoscopy

If, however, an individual has insurance to cover a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, and he, she, or an employer is paying the premiums, why put it off because of certain bean counting individuals, the government, or other associations are arguing that gastroenterologists or insurance companies are gouging when they establish pricing for those procedures? Those debates will go on forever. It’s above my pay scale. All I know is what I would do and what I will urge others to do. I’m willing to pay, personally, for any procedure that may save my life and/or prevent an eventual bankruptcy that is sure to come, if the disease goes undetected. Advanced colon cancer requires a huge outlay of one’s assets in order to extend a loved one’s life.

An individual unsure of any hereditary factor and who does not have any symptoms should not simply depend on an arbitrary decision based on the age of 50 and no presence of the disease in one’s family. Both men and women face shortened lives and will die in their 40s and 50s after prolonged, and very, very painful illnesses, if they wait for the debates to be decided. Act Now!

I would like to see 40 as the age people are urged by dedicated doctors to be screened for colon cancer regardless of the method (blood tests, stool samples, etc.) but, at least, a sigmoidoscopy and, preferably, a colonoscopy. While the government, insurance companies, and the medical community argue over costs, take control of your own life–pay for it yourself if you must. Those entities may tell you that you don’t need those exams because they are thinking about the dollars. You have to think about your life and the lives of your loved ones.  

I would like to see some celebrities support reducing the threshold age for insurance coverage for colonoscopies from 50 down to 40—especially if it can’t be determined if colon cancer existed in a person’s extended family. There will be plenty of advocates telling you that you don’t need the procedure(s). But, an expense of a couple thousands of dollars versus a couple millions of dollars (Irene’s treatment costs were at least millions), is a terrific return on investment even if only a relatively small number of cases (including yours) are caught in time, when compared to the medical, productivity, emotional, and psychological costs.

Katie Couric, a very famous TV personality, has been an advocate of early detection and prevention of colon cancer for a decade and a half. Her husband died of the disease in 1998 at the young age of 42. To her credit, Ms. Couric underwent an on-air colonoscopy in 2000 creating a surge in people getting that exam (and, I’m sure, lives were saved or extended). I understand that in the spring of 2014 she will again pick up the banner with a documentary on this hideous disease. I am going to try to urge her to support reducing the threshold age to 40 despite what the bean counters are broadcasting. I might add, I wish a few–or even one–male celebrity would also rise to the occasion.

Another of Irene’s messages that she wanted everyone to know: Irene also wanted to encourage those stricken with cancer that they should never surrender to the disease. Fight the fight! Don’t give up! Fight to live for those who love you and take advantage of any “breaks” during the course of treatments to enjoy life, and your loved ones. The Relay for Life motto: “Hope, Faith, Courage” was truly lived by Irene. Because of her strength, I had 9 loving years with Irene that might have been only 2 or 3 had she given up. You’ll read in the book how I encourage her (through “Conversations”) to continue her inspiration to all of cancer’s victims. Through the book, Irene can keep instructing and inspiring. And by her example, Irene shows people how to live and others to love: by giving of their time in support of their loved ones who have been stricken.

“Time is the greatest gift of love because it’s the most precious thing we have to give.” Irene said that.

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It’s time for a brief interlude. Please enjoy another poem by Brian Brill before I continue with the details of my life. This is the first poem Brian wrote that he said was inspired by the story of Irene and me.

“I can only imagine what losing a soul mate is like.” Brian Brill.

                  I Turned Around Today

I turned around today, and I saw you weren’t there.
A familiar smell I noticed, smelled just like your hair.
I thought I heard your voice today, but it was only in my mind.
Please tell me when it happened, when God became unkind.
First he lets me have you, and before him we did vow.
To reap the earthly treasures, we tilled behind his plow.
Everything was perfect, or as close as it could get.
Our love was never questioned, we knew it when we met.
Then one day he took you back, you passed in my embrace.
I screamed at God, “How could you take her from this place.
I hated him, I couldn’t speak, I only wanted life to end
I was broken, I was helpless, when he took from me my friend.
Then one day it came to me, I realized God was not unkind.
For it was He that gave you as my wife,
You’re forever on my mind…………………BBBRILL 8/23/13


Okay! Now, it’s All About Me

[The following is my story in my own words, because I’m told readers love to learn as many details as they can about a writer’s life. So, as time goes by and the thoughts occur to me, I’ll be adding more.]

“Where do I begin to tell the story of how great a love can be ….” (the theme from “Love Story” was my favorite). It started playing when you opened this section of the website and you started reading these words. I would sing a duet with Johnny Mathis as it played on our car CD during our motor trips between Philadelphia and Orlando. I wish I had the chance to sing along again. It expressed my view of Irene’s love for me. It was such a privilege to be loved by Irene. She taught me how to love even though I was 15 years older than she was. She was my teacher: how to love and how to live. This book is my tribute to her and my thanks to her (she knows; she listens) for bringing me into her too short life. Thank you, Irene.

It is difficult for most normal people to construct an autobiography without feeling at least a little bit self-conscious. The closest any of us usually gets to it is completing a resume to submit to potential employers. I’m going to attempt to overcome my own resistance to “tooting my own horn” in this treatise. The following will be sort of rat-a-tat-tat, a linear chronology with narrative and editorial comments along the way. These paragraphs may be interesting–or not, to the visitors to this web page. But, my background is nothing if it is not diverse.

 

The Early Years

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1930’s during the Great Depression. My parents were Thomas J. Sr., and Elizabeth M. (nee Gibson). They married in 1933–the early period of that dire time in the United States. Both sets of my grandparents were born in Ireland. My maternal grandmother came to the USA in 1905. I know a little, but not much more, of my other grandparents. I’m not sure of my other grandparents except that they emigrated from Ireland sometime before or at the turn of the century. I do know quite a bit about names, dates of birth, and deaths, etc., as far back as great-great grandparents.

In Ireland, the destruction of many family records during the warring 19teens and 1920s between Irish nationalists and the ruling British Empire (actually, for the previous 800 years) makes it more difficult to search deeper, though it is not impossible. Being catholic enables us to reach into parish baptismal and confirmation records, though I have not quite ventured that far. Other members of our extended family have done so. I have only minimally conferred, so far, with them to develop more ancestral information. The foregoing does confirm, however, that I am as close as I can be to 100% Irish lineage.

Being Irish brings with it a love of the Irish culture with its rich literary and musical traditions. But, being second generation in most cultures leads to an Americanization (of most) progeny from around the world who were born and raised in this country.

I am proud to be an American and proud of our heritage despite a growing and popular inclination to blame our country for almost any ill that thrives in the world around us. It reminds me of the husband who is always trying to “improve” his wife but is constantly “correcting” and “criticizing” her, claiming it’s because he loves her so much. That’s not true love, in my opinion, to be forever pointing out the faults of a spouse or of one’s nation. I’m not one of the “hate America first” crowd though I am fully aware of the taints in our history. We, as a nation, have always tried to improve ourselves and create paths that would set us in an even better direction.

As products of the Great Depression, my older sister (by 2 years), Patricia A., and I did not live in the lap of luxury, as I was often reminded by activity and events that occurred in those early years (a younger brother, Michael P., was born shortly after the war). None of the three of us kids didn’t know, nor did we care, how poor we were. I remind myself of the pieces of cardboard we placed inside our shoes as a protection from rain-wet pavements due to the holes in the soles of our footwear. I remember having cooties and being ashamed of it, briefly, because I had plenty of company among the other kids in the parochial school system. The nurse would make the class put our heads down on our desks and, one by one, almost every other kid would be removed to her office. The attempt at privacy never worked, however, because everyone always knew which classmates were missing.

During World War II, my mother’s brothers (all but one who was too young but he eventually participated in the Korean Conflict) went off to the war: one in the Marines (South Pacific Theater); one in the Navy (Mediterranean and South Pacific Fleets); and, two to the European Theater with the Army. All returned safely, thank God. Three of them married quickly with two of those newly married obtaining housing in the Oxford Village: rows of cinder blocked construction barracks erected primarily for returning veterans and their families.

For a couple years, my sister, me, my infant brother, and my mother lived in that asphalt-tiled, single-floored, coal-burning, tiny abode with my mother’s youngest brother and sister, along with my story-telling grandmother. One of my mother’s married brothers lived in a similar development a short distance away. I slept on a fold-up canvas army cot during that period. We would refresh in the summer “under-the-hose,” and did not concern ourselves with our economic condition. It didn’t matter to us.

My veteran uncles told stories, my grandmother told tales of Ireland, my aunt (senior to me by 6 years), and my youngest maternal uncle (senior to me by 8 years) kept our cozy family entertained in so many ways that, to this day I cherish those memories of those many months I was living in the “projects.” My father, who did not get along with my grandmother, had a room near Broad Street. We visited him on Sundays and I remember his radio always tuned to Bishop Fulton Sheen’s, “Greatest Story Ever Told,” and the Sunday papers (including the ‘Funnies,”) strewn on the floor.

I attended parochial school in three different neighborhoods. I always found academic success without too much coaching, even into high school, until my Junior year. Hanging out on corners doesn’t support academic success. Though I never failed anything, I had trouble with geometry. That was a close one. I never had any problem with any other subjects, including languages (2 years Latin; 2 years Spanish; German in college). I loved English and History and still do to this day. I also liked science. Geometry was a tough subject at that time. Ironically, in college and grad school, calculus was a breeze (A’s in each semester–I was older, a veteran, and not hanging on corners during the time I went to college and grad school).

By about 10, and during my early teens, I shined shoes, had paper routes, and was an usher at a neighborhood theater. I collected junk on the evening before trash was collected so I could turn it in for money to the junk man. I took orders with my wagon at the supermarket in the area and was a pinboy at a local bowling alley. I did anything else that us little street urchins could do to earn a little money. It was a badge of honor to be industrious–not idle. The nuns made sure we internalized one of their maxims: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

I had some artistic talent so I became the school artist around any holiday or Holy Day and painted festive Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving themes on the blackboards in all the classrooms in the school. I also earned money by painting those same themes on windows and door glass around the neighborhood. Ultimately I had a regular after-school job at a supermarket–again at the lowest rung to begin with, but gradually, by the time I graduated from high school, it became a full time job until I joined the US Air Force.. 

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Here’s an opportunity for me to insert another poem 
by my friend, Brian Brill. There are 4 others distributed on the pages of this website: a couple others are on this page, above. There is a neighborhood Group on Facebook to which Brian and I both belong. Brian is the Group’s poet laureate. To be a member, you had to have lived in a section of Philadelphia (Kensington) for some period during your life. This poem by Brian reflects nostalgically what all us Kensingtonians feel about the neighborhood in which we spent much of our youth. You’ll read that, currently, it is not the scrubbed, friendly place it used to be where the neighborhood culture infused in us respect for elders, love of family, and many other developmental characteristics not nearly as common as “back in the day.” Here it is:

             Kensington

When I grew up in Kensington,
Going back so many years,
I never thought I’d think of it,
While holding back my tears.

The Avenue is where I shopped,
And on the corners where I hung.
Those golden days of city life,
In days when I was young.

A snowball was a special treat,
And a pretzel was a nickel.
Or if I wanted something else,
I’d have a Jewish pickle.

Some families had no car back then,
And gas was just a quarter.
And now it cost a couple bucks,
To drink some bottled water.

The neighborhood has changed since then,
That life will never be.
That life we had in Kensington,
That life for you and me.

I took a ride some time ago,
Through the place I once called home,
Down Avenues and city streets.
That once were safe to roam.

Then my wife rolled up her window,
And my daughter locked her door.
“Aren’t you glad,” my daughter said,
“That you don’t live here anymore?”

“Yes,” I said. ”I guess I am.”
But those days were so much fun.
And I wouldn’t change them for the world,
Those days in Kensington……………………………By BBBrill 4-4-12

 

Late Teens: The US Air Force

Shortly after I graduated from high school, I joined the US Air Force: basic training in San Antonio, Texas, Lackland Air Force Base; then, an electronic countermeasures (ECM; AFSC 30330) tech school in Biloxi, Mississippi, Keesler Air Force Base, after an extensive background investigation in order to get a top secret clearance; finally, my advanced technical training took place at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California–Radio Traffic Analysis (RTA; AFSC 20230). I was then assigned overseas to the Air Force Security Service and the 6901st Special Communications Group.The US Air Force Security Service is now known as the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.

After a 30 day leave (my first since joining the Air Force a year and a half earlier), I went overseas assigned to a remote corner of an army base in Zweibrucken, Germany. Every assignment I had overseas was to a remote detachment adjacent to the USSR. In Germany, I was an “analyst” charged with reviewing and analyzing intelligence/surveillance/reconnaisance information arriving from “the field.” The Soviets were the enemy and my training centered on their military operations. During my time in Germany, there were a couple temporary duties (TDY) to other places.

My next assignment was in Samsun, Turkey, for my final year in the Air Force. I volunteered for Turkey. Other than the opportunity to be in the field and actually collecting intelligence, there was another significant reason: in Germany, an airman received 1 point per month toward an overseas commitment of 36 months. Because of the extensive training I had received, I had less than three years remaining on my enlistment. That meant all my remaining enlistment time in the USAF would be spent in Germany if I did not go to Turkey or some other isolated operating unit. I was not ready to settle down. On top of that, I would receive 3 points per month in Turkey–in one year my commitment would be completed and I could go home–an “early out” by a few months. So, after a little less than a year in Germany, I packed my bags and went off to Samsun on the northern coast of Turkey and the southern coast of the Black Sea. Samsun is a small town directly across from what is today the Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. Of course, in 1959 the Ukraine and the Crimean Penisula were part of the Soviet Union. I was about 21 years old and pretty excited about the change in assignment.

It was a different world. Turkey has a very long history and played a significant role in most world events throughout history. I didn’t mention that my pay was increased because the few of us who were there (about ten total in 1959) lived in apartments. There was no base. We had a cook (named Fatma), a house cleaner (? name), and Turkish friends (eventually), who showed us around. A taxi driver (named Zeki) was key to getting to know the small town. A couple business men befriended us, too. It was all quite a different experience for a 20 or 21 year old kid from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, after a full year, I was very happy to get home to my family.

 

My Twenties

The law guaranteed that I returned to my old job at the supermarket that I had worked in during high school in various positions from cart boy, to bagger, to grocery, dairy, deli, and to meat departments. But, I had a lot of technical training in the service. I went to work for Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in Camden, New Jersey, helping build an Air Force Communications Logistic Network (COMLOGNET), a computer system large enough to fill a warehouse at the time that didn’t do much more than a hand-held scientific calculator does today. RCA eventually completed that defense contract and, after a few smaller and classifed Jet Propulsion Laboratories’ projects, I got laid off.

I immediately got a job (that’s what you did back then–few of my generation wanted to be “on the dole”) on the lowest rung in the sales department at Yale & Towne, Materials Handling, Inc., on Roosevelt Boulevard, in Philadelphia. I got a promotion quickly when the person who was in line for it declined the position. Another year or two and I had the “title” of sales engineer. I was going to night school by this time, at St. Joseph’s College, later to become St. Joseph’s University, where I later attended graduate school after earning my B.A. at Temple University.

Finally, I was asked to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia, as an account manager for that area of the country. I took the job after the company flew me down there first class. On my return trip to Philly, a grammar school classmate, who was a stewardess for the airline I was flying, noticed my name on the manifest. We chatted the whole trip and she convinced me that I was making a good decision. She had relocated to Atlanta a couple years before.

I stayed with that company for a couple years, then decided to take a position with a competitor back up north in Maple Shade, New Jersey, to be closer to my family. After several years with a company car and expense account, I was getting too used to those perks. But, with what I thought would be enough money at that time, I quit the fast lane. I think my nose was getting redder and my eyes more bloodshot.

Dreaming of becoming a college professor, I decided to return to school for my B.A. on a full time basis, majoring in English with minors in History and Psychology. Psych was all the rage back in the mid-to-late-sixties. I enrolled at Temple University as a full time student. I was on the long side of 25 by a couple years, had an apartment, and felt very comfortable–until the money started running out.

 

My Early Thirties

I had to take several different interim jobs after I went broke so that I could pay tuition, my rent, some bills, and to keep meat on my bones. I was riding public transportation by this time–no company car or expense account anymore. I “rode the rails” back and forth from one side of the city to the other going to work in the afternoon and school during the day. When I had semester breaks during the summers, I would take jobs that lasted from morning till night, the worst of which was putting up tents for gala parties and “coming out” celebrations for the daughters and sons of the “rich” (I would say sons of the “successful”). I was pounding 5′ wooden stakes into the ground sloping behind the mansions (steel stakes when erecting tents on macadam) from morning till night, laying and joining 4′ x 4′ parquet pallets for large dance floors, stringing electric lights, and various other activities to make the events successful, all for a couple dollars an hour, if that. I’m not sure of the rate. I don’t remember my wage.

I made candles in a cellar and had home demonstrations selling them at neighbors’ homes. I had a soft ice cream truck and was a personnel recruiter (irony there). And, yes, I even sold new and used cars for a dealership in West Philadelphia. Finally, the perfect fit for a full time student, I landed a job as a courier for a large corporation, starting at 3:30 in the afternoon and finished my route among the 5 divisions, in the city and suburbs, by 7:30 in the evening, which left time for studying. There were other small jobs during the period of my full time status at Temple University, inluding driving a taxi cab, but I can’t remember all of them at the moment (later, maybe).

Finally, my younger (by 8 years) brother joined the police department. Within a year, he convinced me to do the same in order to bring stability into my life. I’ll fill in the details later regarding his status at that time. The appointment process took a few months. I had one class to complete my bachelor’s degree. It was a good idea from an educational perspective: I would be a big frog in a small pond because not even a high school diploma was required at the time to join the Philly PD. As you can imagine, much has changed through the years regarding educational requirements for appointment to the Philadelphia Police Department. Two full years of college credits are now required, I believe.

I obtained a real estate license, too, and also went back part time, during daylight hours, to selling materials handling equipment (lift trucks, front-end loaders, etc.) for yet another competitor, when I worked 4 x 12 shift on the police department. I was a narcotics supervisor at the time, leaving daytime to earn extra money selling houses and materials handling equipment.

 

The 1980’s

In the meantime, with a steady police paycheck coming in, I married in 1976, built a nice single home in the Somerton Springs section of Philly, and had two sons by 1982. I was a homicide detective when I married in 1976. We built the home in a very nice area 100 yards within the city to meet the requirement that police employees had to maintain residence within the city limits. I was a lieutenant when we got divorced in 1984. All of the work (full and part time), school, and studying for promotions was paying off in one way, but had at least something to do with my divorce by 1984. But then, I started a business.

Getting promoted was relatively easy for me. Preparing for the exams was brutal but I knew how to study. Later, I even developed a Test-Taking Skills course. Before I knew it, I was a corporal, then a detective, then a homicide detective, then a sergeant, then a lieutenant, then a captain, then I skipped a rank and became a full inspector–all with less than 17 years’ service. My final assignment, before I retired, was as an acting Chief Inspector of a bureau within the department. I had various assignments during my career including walking beats, patrol officer, investigator of major crimes (including homicide), narcotics supervisor, instructor at the police academy, patrol commander, commanding officer of a large center city district, commanding officer of the Labor Relations Unit, and also, special assistant to the police commissioner. My experience and rank gave me the gravitas to start my own business part time. I had the perfect background to create and fill a niche market.

In addition to the well-rounded set of assignments I had while in the police department, as mentioned in the short bio leading this section of the web page, I attended grad school at St. Joe’s University, working toward my MBA. I was into creating my own business.

I incorporated Thomas J. Cooney Jr. Associates, providing many services to police and security organizations. I was a consultant to smaller police agencies as far away as Wilmington, Delaware, and Allentown, Pennsylvania. In addition, I designed and administered promotional exams for agencies and established the organization’s list from which they would promote candidates for higher ranks.

 

The 1990’s to 1999 

By 1990, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After a couple major surgeries and chemo for a year, I was back on my feet and feeling like I was reborn, physically. Having been scared a little by the cancer, by 1993 I retired from the police department and continued building my business. By 1999 I met Irene Stasurak, my future wife. She attended one of my seminars.

 

Our Lives Begin

Irene returned in 2001 for an advanced course for detectives and our love story began. The book picks up the story from this point in our lives. Read the book!

 

[To be continued … ]

[I’ll be adding many more details as the weeks and months pass, but for for the moment, you can pick up from here by reading some excerpts or, better yet, pick up the book. Our story begins in the first section of the book, Our Introduction. For now, I must say thank you, for visiting these web pages dedicated to my late wife, Irene Cooney, the sweetest, most caring, unselfish, and loving wife a man could ever hope for. I found true love in my life–but not until I was 60 years old. Irene taught me how to live; she also taught me how to love. We still talk to each other every day–you’ll discover that when you read the book. –Tom Cooney Jr.]