FDNY Rejects Navy SEAL, 37, Because He's Too Old

Other fire departments across the nation have offered him jobs
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2019 4:08 PM CDT
FDNY firefighter Scott Hickey, left, and a fellow firefighter who did not give his name, sit in a fire truck parked in New York's Times Square as a crowd gathers in reaction to the news of Osama Bin Laden's...   (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

(Newser) – He's a Navy SEAL who's served four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Shaun Donovan is also 37—which is why the New York Fire Department rejected him, as he was about six months older than its maximum age limit when he applied. His attorney says Donovan scored in the top 1% of applicants, passed the physical exam, and flew to New York twice for the recruitment process; he is currently still serving on active duty, but wanted to move to New York when he's eligible to retire from the Navy next year, CNN reports. The good news: Since Donovan's story started making headlines, more than a dozen fire departments across the nation have extended invitations to him to come work there instead, the New York Post reports.

Donovan grew up in Arizona, but his family is originally from New York and spoke of it often, fueling his dream to live there and work with FDNY. He appealed the department's decision, but FDNY tells CNN it is not authorized to waive the age limit, which is mandated by state and city regulations and is among the strictest in the nation, for any applicant. Donovan's next step was to appeal the decision to New York City's Civil Service Commission, which is expected to make a decision by the end of July. If it doesn't go his way, his attorney says Donovan is prepared to file a civil lawsuit in federal court. Among the other fire departments that want Donovan: Denver and San Francisco. "We'll respect what you've gone through, who you are, and your age," says Denver FD's head recruiter. (This actress was told she was too old for a role at 37.)

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