J Radhakrishnan trained as a veterinary doctor. He was the sub-collector in Tuticorin and has also served as the collector in Salem and Thanjavur.
Last year, during his tenure as Thanjavur collector, a devastating fire broke out at a school in Kumbakonam. The fire killed 97 children.
People still recall seeing him racing to the school to supervise rescue operations. He was at the hospital till every child was out of danger.
When he heard about the tsunami that struck Tamil Nadu on December 26, 2004, the first thing he did was to send all available ambulances to Nagapattinam, where he was soon appointed collector.
He was first asked to look after Akkaraipettai village. The village was the worst affected by the tsunami. Within a radius of four kilometres from the sea, 2,600 bodies were found. Houses and hundreds of boats were destroyed.
This was the area Radhakrishnan had to clear up. The bodies were identified, then buried or burnt. A road was laid, power restored.
Each time there was a scare that another tsunami was about to strike, he was the first to stand on the seashore to build confidence among the people.
Discuss what you can do for the tsunami survivors in Nagapattinam with J Radhakrishnan, when he appears on the Rediff Chat, March 17, 7 pm. Don't miss it!
Have you read our complete coverage? Tsunami: Waves of Destruction