Retiree On Becoming Volunteer Firefighter At Age 80: "There's more to life than just relaxing"

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Playing 80-Year-Old Retiree Becomes Volunteer Firefighter In New Jersey | Good News Story
80-Year-Old Retiree Becomes Volunteer Firefighter In New Jersey | Good News Story Aired November 12, 2020

Meet Bob Halberstadt from Blairstown, NJ. Bob, who is 80 years young, retired from his job as a truck driver delivering newspapers for the New York Daily News about eight years ago. He's also been a volunteer EMT for the Blairstown Ambulance Corps for 26 years and counting. And now, he's a volunteer firefighter in New Jersey, too. Talk about redefining retirement!

"I heard that they were starting a training class at the Warren County Fire Academy, and I told the chief to sign me up," Bob says. "When I told my wife I was going to start training, it came as no surprise to her, because she knows that I like to keep active," he adds.

Bob says that he was at least 50 years older than all of the other recruits, and says "the skills portion was very difficult. We had live fire drills, search and rescue in near-zero visibility, hose operations. It was very exhausting."

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"When they found out how old I was, they looked at me and said, 'Why?'" Bob says.

His answer? "Volunteer firefighters and EMS don't get paid. We do it because we want to. We don't expect anything, but when we get a thank you it's really wonderful."

"I never thought of myself as being old," he continues. "If you feel good and you want to do something for your community, go ahead and do it. I don't look at myself as old, I look at myself as just being older."

And as Bob tells Rach about his view on retirement, "You can [only] go fishing so much. There's more to life than just relaxing, and I consider being a firefighter or an EMT as part of my everyday life. It's rewarding. It's a great feeling of personal accomplishment. This is the proudest accomplishment of my life—so far!"

Rach had a sweet surprise to share with Bob. She showed him a video of his fellow first responders thanking Bob, sending their love and sharing how much they appreciate him and all that he does.

And as a bonus thank you from his community, New Jersey's Blairstown Inn is gifting Bob and his wife a $250 gift card to treat themselves to a romantic dinner.

You deserve all of this and more, Bob! Thank you for all that you do! 🧡

Bob is part of our "Thanks For Giving" series, highlighting amazing people doing good every day until Thanksgiving. Read more good news stories here

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