Shaun Donovan would seem like the perfect fit for firefighting. The active-duty special operations chief served four combat tours and scored in the top one percent of applicants for the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). There’s just one problem: At the time of his application, he was six months past the age cutoff.
Now, given that Donovan easily passed the physical exam and his long career in active military service, you might think that he’d get a waiver. After all, we’re talking about a matter of months, not years, and Donovan seems more than up to the task of handling the job.
Donovan had hoped to continue his public service career by working for the FDNY after he retires from the Navy in 2020. His family is originally from Staten Island, so a move to New York City makes sense.
If he does move to New York, however, it likely won’t be to serve as a firefighter. Despite his otherwise strong application, Donovan was informed via letter that he was too old. Usually, the FDNY won’t accept applications past the age of 29. However, active-duty members of the military can deduct up to six years from their age.
Unfortunately, that deduction left Donovan on the wrong side of the age line, albeit by mere months. Donovan was one of 22 veterans who took the written exam and were disqualified owing to the age requirements.
While Donovan may not get the opportunity to serve in New York, he still has opportunities to serve as a firefighter elsewhere. Several fire-fighting departments across the country have reached out to Donovan, encouraging him to apply. Many fire departments don’t have an age cap.