Octogenarian sets new records by becoming firefighter at age 79

An octogenarian is setting new records and helping to redefine what it means to be a senior citizen when he became a firefighter at age 79.
Bob Halberstadt is the oldest member of the volunteer Blairstown Hose Company No. 1 at age 80.
“I fooled everybody,” says Halberstadt, who just completed his rookie year as a firefighter. “Most people are already retired at my age and here I am just getting started.
Halberstadt worked as a volunteer EMT for years and worked delivering newspapers for the NY Daily News. His worlds collided 20 years ago when he jumped out of his truck to deliver a baby in the Holland Tunnel while delivering newspapers.
In January 2019 – about six years after retiring from his newspaper job, Halberstadt signed up for the Firefighter 1 class at the Warren County Firefighter Academy. He was 78 years old.
Photos: National Senior Citizens Day

“I didn’t know what I was getting into, because if I would have seen what the recruits are going through. But I didn’t know any better,” Halberstadt says. “I said, ‘Hey, why not?’”
His wife Carole says that she was not surprised by what he did.
“He just loves doing it. Great sense of satisfaction,” Carole says.
Halberstadt underwent four months of training, live firefighting, search and rescue and carrying 60 pounds of gear.
“I was older than all of the instructors. I was three-times older than some of the recruits. Some of them could’ve been my grandchildren,” says Halberstadt.
Halberstadt now goes out on search and rescues for lost hikers and fights local house fires. He says that he does not have a real fitness regimen.
“I’m on the treadmill an hour a day. Next time, I’m going to turn it on though,” he says.
He says that the key is to never stop moving.
“If there are other senior citizens out there, they should kind of step out of their life and do something different, take a chance,” Halberstadt says. “Volunteer for your community and more important, for yourself.”