GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – 14 men are celebrating graduating from the Pitt Community College Fire and Rescue Academy in Greenville Friday morning.
Ruffin Keys made history, as the oldest graduate at the age of 51.
“When they asked the year that everybody was born and when I said 1964, it was kind of a big shock to everybody,” said Keys, who wanted to join the academy years ago, but instead decided to with help his father in construction. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and now that I can I’m still in great shape, you know I’m going to do this.”
He also added that it wouldn’t be possible without his other 13 fellow graduates and support system at home”
“An excellent wife, who stood behind me the whole time,” Keys said about his wife.
Jeanette Keys said pride runs through the whole family, especially the kids, “They are really proud of him, they think he is the strongest man in the world, he’s Superman.”
Greenville Fire and Rescue Chief Eric Griffin said Keys’ maturity will help him in the field, “I’m very proud for him to be able to take on this challenge and to be able to complete it, but I also know that people that are more mature and been out in the work force they make very good employees.”
Ruffin said age is nothing but a number, “Any individual no matter what your age, you can do anything you put your mind to.”
13 of the graduates will start work in Greenville Fire & Rescue, some as early as July 9, 2016.