The New York Fire Departement rejected a 37-year-old U.S. Navy SEAL because he was too old. Shaun Donovan, an active Special Operations Chief for the Navy SEALs, has served four combat tours and scored in the top 1% of applicants for the FDNY, according to his attorney Kevin Carroll. The FDNY says that Donovan is six months older than the maximum age requirement.
While Donovan is still active in his line of duty in California, he was hoping to move to New York when he is eligible to retire from the Navy in 2020.
Donovan grew up in Tuscon, AZ but was originally from Staten Island, NY. He had a huge desire to fight fires in the NY area because of his upbringing starting in the area. Donovan says he provided his birth date multiple times, including before and after he took his tests. He had even taken a make-up exam granted by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services because he had been on duty at the time.
Despite all of that effort, he received a letter that his application had been denied, citing the age requirement as the reason. He allegedly appealed this with the FDNY, but they said they are not authorized to waive the requirement for anyone.
FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon spoke to CNN about the requirements that the department has to follow. He says that under both city and state regulations, they cannot accept an applicant who is over the age of 29 unless they have a military background. Then, if that’s the case, they can deduct up to six years off their current age to meet that age requirement of 29, which is dependent on how long they served.
“Several hundred veterans are believed to have taken the test and are eligible for an appointment when we reach their list number. In fact, this morning at our training academy, we swore in 327 new probationary firefighters — 126 of whom are military veterans,” Gribbon said.
However, one door might have closed for Donovan, but another one has surely opened! Donovan’s situation has gained a lot of traction in the media, which has caused a number of fire departments to reach out to him. One of them was the Denver Fire Department’s head recruiter who reached out to him, encouraging him to apply for a post-military career with them.
Denver Fire Department’s head recruiter Captain Greg Pixley said, “We’re always looking for a few good men and women. “We’ll respect what you’ve gone through, who you are and your age. I basically just wanted to let him know, that coming out of the military the fire service would be an easy transition and a great career.”
When asked what prompted him to reach out to Donovan, Pixley reveals that he had served in the U.S. Air Force. “I have a little bias toward my veteran sisters and brothers,” he said.
The Denver Fire Department requires a GED and to be at least 21 years old to apply, but there is no maximum on age. We know that Donovan will be in good hands with whatever department he decides to go with!
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