Decorated military veteran appealing rejection by FDNY for being too old

A decorated military veteran is fighting his rejection to join the FDNY for being too old -- by 6 months and 25 days --and because of the controversy he is fielding offers from various departments across the country.

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Shaun Donovan scored in the top 1% out of 43,900 candidates on a written exam and passed a physical ability test but because of his age -- he was 35 at the time he started the process -- he was deemed too old, The New York Post reported.

"It was a letdown," Donovan told the Post. "I was allowed to apply and take the test. At no point was I made aware I was outside any age limit. It just seemed everything was lined up and ready to go."

Donovan joined the military after graduating college in 2005. He became a Navy SEAL and served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning medals of valor for his service, the Post reported. He hoped to work for the FDNY when his military service ends in 2020.

FDNY candidates cannot be older than 29 but can add 6 years for military service. At 35 years, 6 months and 25 days, he was too old. The requirement cannot be waived, officials told the Post.

In the past, the FDNY has hired black and Hispanic firefighters in their 30s and 40s because of a federal discrimination lawsuit, the Post reported.

Donovan is appealing to the city’s Civil Service Commission and, if his appeal is rejected, he says might file a lawsuit, the Post reported. The board is expected to make a decision during the summer.

In the meantime, Donovan has fielded offers from about a dozen other departments across the country.

"If the hiring process that Shaun is going through is not going to honor his service and recognize his capability, I want him to know that we will," Greg Pixley, with the Denver Fire Department, told The Post. "That's the kind of person we want. We believe that if someone has the physical and mental prowess to perform the job, they should be given the respect and the opportunity to be a firefighter."

Donovan appreciates the offers but says he is holding out for the FDNY.

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