EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 9, 2012

City asks for age waiver for four-tour combat veteran

serving his community

METHUEN — David J. Eddy grew up on Pelham Street, went to Methuen High School, where he met his wife Donna, and joined the Navy after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to serve his country.

Eddy said he had wanted to be a firefighter since he was little, recalling sneaking a ride down the fire pole at the fire station on Lowell Street when he was a boy.

But with his family and his decision to join the Navy, he did not get the chance to try joining the Fire Department.

“Timing was always a factor when raising a young family,” Eddy said. “Working 60 and 70 hours a week, I didn’t have the ability to put the time and effort into the Fire Department.”

Instead, he completed four tours of duty in the Middle East, two in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, as a Navy Seabee, or a “dirt sailor” as he called it because they are always deployed on land.

Seabees are construction Navy battalions that often are still involved in combat. He returned home in July 2011 and became a reservist.

Now, at age 42, his children are older and Eddy said the time is right to join, calling himself “wiser and more seasoned.” City Councilor Sean Fountain said Eddy is at the top of the Civil Service list the city chooses its firefighters from, but Civil Service cannot certify him because the state age limit for new firefighters is 32.

City Councilors on Monday unanimously approved a home rule petition, asking the state Legislature to create an exemption to that age limit to give Eddy a shot at a job.

It must be approved a second time and get the mayor’s go-ahead before it is sent to Boston.

Eddy, who joined as a Naval reservist in 2001, became a Navy Seabee in 2003 and was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in August 2005, where his unit provided support for Navy Seal Team Two.

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