Bill Making it Easier for Veterans to Serve as Firefighters Signed into Law

November 11, 2019

Originally published in Shorefront News on November 11, 2019.

A bill making it easier for veterans to serve their city as first responders after serving the nation was signed by Governor Cuomo today. The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Peter Abbate, amends the law to deduct an extra year of military service from the age maximum to serve in the FDNY. This bill would allow people like decorated Navy SEAL Shaun Donovan, who had previously been rejected after just missing the age cut-off for military members, to join FDNY. According to the FDNY, three other previously rejected military members will now be eligible.

“Any person who puts their life on the line for our country deserves our unending gratitude and respect. With the passage of this bill, we are helping selfless people who have the desire to enter into public service as firefighters after already serving our nation in the military. This is the right thing to do, and I’m glad this commonsense change will be made,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes.

Assembly Member Peter Abbate said, “America’s veterans deserve the best when they come home, and here in New York, we are doing everything possible to make it easier for them to join the workforce. While some public service work opportunities put an age limit on eligible applicants, veterans deserve a reasonable accommodation, since many of them were serving our country during the time that they would have been eligible for these opportunities. I am happy to see the age accommodation expand for many of these opportunities to allow veterans to deduct up to seven years of their military service from the qualifying age, and I applaud Governor Cuomo for being a fervent champion for New York’s veterans.” 

“Shaun Donovan represents the best our city and country has to offer. I commend his commitment to serve not only overseas, but now back here at home and appreciate all the work done by so many to make this happen,” said Congressman Max Rose.

“I want to thank everyone who has contributed throughout the appeal process. Kevin Carroll, from Wiggin and Dana LLP, expertly navigated this case; and with the combined efforts of Councilman Borelli, Assemblyman Abbate, Senator Gounardes, President Fitzgerald, Mayor de Blasio, and Governor Cuomo, I am grateful that myself and several other veterans who are also now eligible, will have the privilege to attend the FDNY academy. I am beyond humbled to have the chance to be a part of the FDNY and look forward to doing my part to keep the people and property of New York City safe,” said Navy SEAL Shaun Donovan.