Army Veteran Wants to be a Firefighter, Hopes Age Rules Will be Changed - NECN
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Army Veteran Wants to be a Firefighter, Hopes Age Rules Will be Changed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Army Veteran Hopes Firefighter Age Rules Will be Changed

    Sgt. Dana Seminoff, a veteran with two deployments in Afghanistan, two in Iraq, and one in Kuwait, is home from serving his country and wants to have a new career as a firefighter. But, Massachusetts state law says the cut off age to enroll as a firefighter is 32 years old, and Seminoff is 35.

    (Published Monday, Nov. 20, 2017)

    A veteran home from serving his country is looking at a new career, but he found out his age could get in the way of that. Now, he's on a crusade to get the city to change the law, so he can continue to help people in a big way.

    Massachusetts state law says the cutoff age to enroll as a firefighter is 32 years old, but this determined, 35-year-old veteran isn't backing down.

    Sgt. Dana Seminoff has already accomplished more than most.

    "I did two deployments in Afghanistan, two in Iraq, one in Kuwait, and I finished up my service on active duty in Korea," said Seminoff, who is currently an EMT.

    At 35 years old, Seminoff has one more dream he's chasing: to become a Leominster firefighter.

    It's a job the Leominster Mayor thinks he's perfect for.

    "In the whole time I've been mayor, 24 years, I've never had a conversation on the phone where I thought, I wish I owned a business because I would hire this guy in two seconds," Mayor Mazzarella said.

    The Leominster Director of Veteran affairs said there's no one better for the job.

    "He's experienced and trained and he brings something to the table. He's everything we would want for our fire department," said Richard Voutour.

    There's one problem though. Seminoff is too old for the job.

    "We did hiring a few months ago and he was the next person on the list and at the time we realized he was too old," said Leominster Fire Chief Robert Sideleau.

    With the Massachusetts state law as it is, Seminoff is three years too late.

    "As long as you're physically capable of doing the job, I really don't see a reason why it should." said Seminoff.

    But Seminoff's dream isn't dead yet. The city can adopt a provision called section 31 58A. Nineteen cities in Massachusetts already have it. It adds an extra four years to the cutoff age for veterans.

    "It's ok to serve your country and then you come home and someone looks after you. I got your six kind of thing," said Seminoff.

    The Fire Chief certainly had Seminoff's six.

    "It is a young man’s job but I thought it was fair for the veterans, so I'm in support of it," said Chief Sideleau.

    "I may not be the 18-year-old that doesn’t need a motrin after a long day of work," Seminoff said. "I think at the end of the day comes down if you are physically capable."

    There are still 27 cities in Massachusetts that abide by the 32-year-old cutoff, but Mayor Mazzarella doesn't want Leominster to be one of them.

    The mayor asked city council to change the law, and it will go to a vote on that change in just two weeks.

    "They came back giving, not even expecting a thank you, so if there is anything at all that we can do to help our veterasn, they are absolutely the highest of priorities," said Mayor Mazzarella.

    As his own battle continues, Seminoff has a message to other veterans.

    "Just go for it. Don’t take no," he said. "We have a don’t quit attitude in the military. And we can carry it over to getting this job. Hopefully."

    There are 62 fire departments in Massachusetts that have no age limit, but those cities have to adopt a special wellness program to make that happen. 

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