LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- After her divorce, Robin Nesdale admits she lost her self-esteem.
Wanting to do something that would help her as well as her community, this mom of one did something out of her comfort zone: She joined the Town of Mamaroneck Fire Department (TMFD).
Now 567, she's the only woman of a certain age there and, to her knowledge the only woman her age to ever pass the FF1 tests.
The written and physical tests are grueling -- 100 hours long and physically and emotionally taxing -- think carrying 60 pounds on your back and breathing with a face mask while running up several flights of stairs, among other challenges, but she did it.
The volunteer even endured the skepticism of others at the firehouse.
"They probably thought this woman would never last," she said.
Already, five of her classmates have dropped out due to the rigorousness of the job. She, however, is staying on. She's got three more classes to go.
Nesdale likes her tougher self and wants to share her story, especially for other women, who may feel derailed by life's circumstances.
"Being a firefighter was the best decision I ever made," said the Larchmont resident. "Not only do you have to be brave but every firefighter has to have pride, morals, integrity and discipline."
Long story short: She has her pride back.
She's also, thanks to her dog-walking business, putting her daughter through college.
First, though, she has her firefighter graduation on Thursday, July 13.
It might not have happened without the support from Chief Bobby Benz at the Westchester County DES Training Center who helped her power through various obstacles. She also wants to give a shout out to Chief Joe Russo at the TMFD who she respects and admires.
"I would never have imagined I'd be here two years ago," said Nesdale: "But it's a great feeling to know I've overcome certain challenges and come out the other side.
"I hope to serve as inspiration for others that you can reach for goals that you previously thought were unattainable. I did and I've never been happier."
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