Impulse buys usually don’t mean ending up with a 2.5-ton military truck and your family thinking you’re crazy.
But that was the case for Houston resident Nick Sissa who couldn’t resist buying the behemoth at an auction in 2016. He studied the manual on the Oshkosh M1078 to make sure he knew how to operate the cab-over 4×4.
Then Hurricane Harvey came the next year and Sissa went to work. Over the next three days, he worked alongside the fire department to rescue over 300 people trapped by historic floodwaters.
“It was just a desire to go out and help people,” the humble Sissa recently told Today Show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. “As we met more people and started getting going it just sort of snow-balled.”
Sissa’s wife, Martha, said she wasn’t surprised by her husband’s drive to help others, nor was she concerned for his safety.
“I knew he was going to be okay. He’s a survivor. He’s kind of a planner,” Martha told Gifford and Kotb. “To me, it’s just something he would do out of his character.”
The Today Show featured the Sissas, their young son and family friend, Faith Cook, Thursday on their “Everyone has a Story” segment. Cook wrote a letter to the Today Show nominating Nick for an appearance on the show. In her letter, Cook writes how Martha was pregnant with their first child when Nick plunked down $6,000 for the truck.
“Family and friends thought Nick was crazy for even considering it, but Nick knew he would find a purpose for it,” Cook wrote.
While on the show, Nick was also honored with a song written and performed by Broadway singer Lauren Molina. How’s that for a guy and his truck?
Citizen rescuers like Nick were credited by Houston police for performing 90 percent of the rescues during Hurricane Harvey, according to pbs.org.