Watch: Houston FF receives surprise gift on 'TODAY' show

Houston Firefighter Josue Rios, who works two jobs and survived COVID-19, discussed the challenges of working through the pandemic with 'TODAY' host Hoda Kotb

ShaCamree Gowdy
Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — COVID-19 has been hard on everyone, but for first responders, it takes an even deeper toll.

"It's definitely been an adjustment to our work life," Josue Rios shared with Hoda Kotb on 'TODAY'. "We obviously have to take the appropriate precautions knowing that, at this point, every place and every person that we respond to could potentially have COVID-19."

A firefighter in Houston by day, Rios works 24-hour shifts to protect his community and provide for his family, only to head to his second job at his family's trucking business once his shift ends.

Perpetually on the move, Rios told Kotb it was frustrating to take time off when he and his wife contracted COVID-19, especially because they had been taking all the necessary precautions.

"I was anxious, because I've seen what the virus has done and at times, it has hit close to home," Rios said, remembering his friend and colleague, Veteran HFD Captain Tommy Searcy. "This virus doesn't take names, doesn't care your age. It affects you in a certain way."

While he expects nothing in return for the work he puts in on a daily basis, Rios received a very special surprise on 'TODAY' Tuesday.

Presented by NBC News correspondent Morgan Chesky, the Rios family was gifted a year's worth of mortgage payments paid off through 2021 (including tax!), as part of Envoy Mortgage's Gift of Home giveaway.

And that's not all — the entire firehouse received a gift card and a "breakfast of champions" consisting of steak, potatoes and chocolate cake from Houston luxe Steak 48 restaurant.

When asked what all of this means to him, Rios said they don't do it for a pat on the back, but it's great to be appreciated and the payments will definitely benefit his family.

"This is going to take a lot of stress off of him," Rios' wife added.


(c)2021 the Houston Chronicle


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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