WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- It's been a long road but on Thursday, July 13, Robin Nesdale will take her oath in Valhalla and become a full-fledged volunteer firefighter with The Town of Mamaroneck Fire Department (TMFD ).
At 56, the Larchmont divorcée is one of only a handful of female volunteers and as far as she knows, the oldest. (There is, it should be noted, a full-time female at TMFD on staff.)
The mom of a college-age daughter said she could never have done all the hard work and training -- 130 hours of class time, two 100-question exams, a written hazardous material test, as well as a grueling physical test that entailed walking up and down three flights of stairs with a 40-pound hose, raising a ladder up and down, carrying heavy saws and dragging a 165-pound dummy -- without the support from the Chiefs and firefighters from the TMFD.
The ceremony later this week at Westchester DES Training Center is a culmination of a journey that began three years ago soon after becoming an empty nester. Post-divorce, she was looking for something that would help her community and challenge her at the same time.
"I would never have imagined I'd be here two years ago," she said: "But it's a great feeling to know I've overcome certain challenges and come out the other side.