SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Dante Farina retired from the Orlando Fire Department in 2019 after 29 years of service.
Now, he is back at new recruit training with the Seminole County Fire Department. His spark rekindled after Farina was asked a simple question by a firefighter at another department.
"He asked me if I miss the fire service and I said every day. He says, 'we're running a hiring process, you should apply.' So I went home, spoke with my wife, and she was on board with it," he said.
His wife was also a firefighter for 20 years. But when the 56-year-old applied, he was rejected. "I applied, and I scored in the top 10. They didn’t even touch me, they didn’t want me."
That just lit the fire inside of him even more. Farina was determined to prove he still had what it took.
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"So I came back to Seminole County. Where it all started for me."
Farina began his fire career at Seminole County as a volunteer in 1988. They welcomed him back. Now he’s training with recruits that weren’t even born then.
"The job is still the same. Still putting wet stuff on the red stuff. Still taking care of people. Dealing with them, the age difference, we’ve been getting along just fine. I’ve been leaning a lot from them, they’ve been learning a lot from me."
"His attitude is probably the most positive that I’ve seen coming through training," said Lt. Tom Mirisola who has been helping Farina train.
It’s a new beginning for a firefighter that already had a decorated career. And Farina is encouraging everyone to keep your passion burning.
"If you're 50-something years old that doesn’t mean you're done. That doesn’t mean you have to retire. It just means you pick up and do the next chapter."
Farina and 26 new recruits are set to graduate in December.