Rookie career firefighter in Maryland is almost 60-years-old

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Michael Quander, WUSA-TV:

Something unusual happened at the Montgomery County Fire Department graduation on Thursday.

A nearly 60-year-old man signed on and passed the test to become a new firefighter.

“I’ll be 60 in October. I’m 59 and a half,” Clarence Voundy said. “Nothing came as a surprise. I knew what I would get into.”

Voundy is became a new firefighter for Montgomery County, and even some of the guys in his training class found it hard to believer at first.

“Like who is this old guy? I told them I had some experience and everything,” Voundy said. “I did have the support of my classmates. They really supported me.”

Reporter: Did they take it easy on you during the physical training?

Voundy: No. No. No. They made me do everything that everyone else did

“If they ran the tower, I ran the tower. If they had a high-rise pack, I had a high-rise pack. If you were crawling– if they were crawling, you were crawling,” Voundy recalled.

Voundy used to fight fires in Prince William County but thought he was ready to retire.

“I got a nice little day time job. It was absolutely boring,” Voundy shouted.

Voundy is a newlywed and told his wife it was time for a change several months ago.

She was shocked but supportive.

“I knew if he started he would definitely finish. I just didn’t want him to be hurt. I don’t like to see him in pain,” Gretta Voundy said.

While Voundy had his challenges, he said he is doing this because he loves to serve and help people when they are at their worst.

Joining the fire department was bold decision made by a man with a big heart.

“Just re-evaluate. If you have the desire, you can do anything,” Voundy said.

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