TAMPA (WFLA) — From her humble beginnings, Allison Sakara entered the nursing field, but never imagined her career would take her to people in trouble all over and outside the U.S.
And today, besides rendering aid where needed, she has taken a huge step to help others answer their call to service.

“It wasn’t the dreams; it was more the passion,” she said.

Allison’s passion to help others took her far from her modest beginnings in Pittsburgh.
“My parents were not wealthy people. We were growing up in a steel town. My father was a police officer, and my mother was a classical musician and public-school teacher, so there was very much a work ethic.”

Allison’s work ethic led to clinical nursing, and later, a position with a national ambulance service, and disaster response work.

“One of our sites was in New York City, ” she recalled the place, but the date was Sept. 11, 2001. “Our boss comes running into our classroom and says, ‘Everybody stop what you are doing. Conference room, now!'”

Terrorists were attacking the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Capitol.

“That’s when the news came through about the other airplanes,” she said.

Airplanes, including one that crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa., Allison learned her team would deploy to the scene. What happened next brings tears to her eyes.

“And we get the chopper report,” she said, “You can’t help but be emotional when you talk about things like that. We get the chopper report that – to turn around, no dispatch needed. There is no work for you here today.”

There were no survivors on United Airlines Flight 93.

“No one who ever works in healthcare ever wants to hear those words,” said Allison, “And obviously they stay with you forever.”

Allison and her team remained at Ground Zero for a time. From there, she was dispatched to many other disasters – major disasters, like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the devastating 2021 earthquake in Haiti.

Life today is more peaceful, and home in Lake Wales is a place to embrace the environment.
Solar power and a wind turbine make her energy independent. She and her husband Maurice, an emergency physician, keep rescue animals, including a collection of koi Allison is training to take commands.

Allison Sakara

“They have names, I come out and pet them, I hand feed them. They’re part of the family.”

Allison also consults companies on medical and environmental issues, and trains first responders through her High Alert Institute non-profit.

“Through that vehicle now is where we do all of our disaster preparedness, awareness, and disaster behavioral health,” explained Allison. “It’s been a huge component of what we do.”

Allison hopes more people will embrace their environment and share her vision for a brighter future.

“If every single one of us tried to leave the planet a little better then when we arrived,” Allison said, “What a different world we would have. “