Mary Brenner doesn't like to break from routine. That's why she drove in for her volunteer shift on Friday, also her 96th birthday.
Once a week Brenner volunteers as an emergency dispatcher at the Huntington County First Aid Squad. She knows all too well the toll of the COVID-19 on Long Island.
"I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid," Brenner said. "I am in good health and I do take care of myself and I remain active."
Brenner has not missed a day since the start of the pandemic, continuing the volunteer work she started back in 1977.
"I'm not going to sit home. I enjoy the work we are doing and I want to be a part of it, just like during the war I was part of it even though I wasn't on the battle field," she said.
Brenner's grit was formed at a young age. During World War II she volunteered to help manufacture defense equipment, operating heavy machinery. Until she was 70, Brenner worked as an EMT and rode an ambulance with her son, Mark.
"She's amazing. We all aspire to be like her. When I grow up I want to be like Mary," her son said.