After 41 years, FDNY Battalion Chief Don Hayde readies for retirement

The Baldwin resident and Nassau fire academy instructor started as a volunteer with the Uniondale Fire Department before a career that spanned four decades with the FDNY.
FDNY firefighter Battalion Chief Don Hayde of Baldwin

FDNY firefighter Battalion Chief Don Hayde of Baldwin is the longest serving uniformed firefighter and is retiring after 41 years — a rarity for firefighters who do not typically age out of the job. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

The FDNY’s longest serving firefighter, Battalion Chief Don Hayde, came to work on his final shift Sunday wearing heavy-duty black work boots as if it was just another day in his 41 years on the job.

“Always 110 percent prepared,’’ said Hayde, who Sunday turned 65 — the FDNY’s mandatory retirement age.

Hayde, a Baldwin resident whose firefighting career started at 18 as a volunteer in Uniondale, described his final day wearing the FDNY uniform as bittersweet. He said he’ll miss “the guys” he worked with over the years but is ready to become a civilian again. Hayde credited his late father, a volunteer firefighter in Uniondale, with motivating him to take the same path.

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