City firefighter a
By JULIAN KESNER
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
On the job:
Lt. Tom Westman
Tom Westman is already one of New York's Bravest.
After tonight, he also may be one of New York's richest.
The 41-year-old FDNY lieutenant and Sayville, L.I., resident is one of four finalists going for the $1 million grand prize on CBS' "Survivor: Palau."
The finale starts at 8 tonight, with the winner to be revealed near 10 p.m. A reunion of all 20 castaways starts at 10.
In Thursday's episode - the 13th this season - Westman won the immunity challenge, guaranteeing him a spot in tonight's finale. Westman navigated a water course and correctly rearranged a puzzle before anyone else to earn his automatic berth.
Trying to keep Westman from the cash are three other contestants: Katie, a 29-year-old ad exec from California; Ian, a 23-year-old dolphin trainer from Florida, and Jennifer, a 32-year-old nanny from California.As of Friday, online casino Bodog.com had Westman as the heavy favorite with 4:5 odds.
Born and raised in Queens, Westman ran track-and-field for Archbishop Molloy High School and joined the FDNY in 1985 after three years at SUNY-Binghamton. He's lieutenant of Ladder Co. 108 in Brooklyn and is completing his B.A. in history at Queens College.
According to his CBS bio, Westman counts his daughter, Megan, as his No. 1 hero. Megan lost her hearing during a battle with meningitis when she was 18 months old and received a cochlear implant less than a year later.
In Westman's "Survivor" preshow interview, the firefighter expressed hope that his job skills would help make him a million bucks richer.
"No two fires are the same - there's no two circumstances in this game that are the same," said Westman. "I like a game, I like the kidding around in the firehouse, and the fun and games ... there's that game to be played out here."
The latest incarnation of the hit reality TV program was taped - except for tonight's vote - in Palau, a cluster of beautiful tropical islands due north of Indonesia in the Pacific Ocean. This season's two tribes, Ulong and Koror, were never evenly matched, with Westman's Koror clan dominating the competition from the start.
All four remaining players are from Koror.
Even if he becomes "Survivor" champion, chances are Westman will report for duty again at his firehouse after tonight.
"I went into [firefighting], as most of us guys did, because my dad was on the job too, and it tends to be a family business," Westman said in his preshow interview. "It's the most rewarding job you could ever have."
Originally published on May 15, 2005 http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/309762p-264995c.html