Firefighters save man after massive heart attack, return to his house to help with lawn

Pasco County Fire Rescue of Florida returned to a home to help lay sod after a man suffered a massive heart attack. (Photo: Melissa Ann Work via Facebook)

On Sunday, Gene Work received the final four palettes of sod that he would need to place in his yard before he received a hefty fine from a homeowner association. As is typical for a July day in Florida, it was extremely hot and humid. When Gene started to feel sick, he went inside, probably in the hope of cooling down.

He then collapsed on the couch. His wife, Melissa, immediately called 911.

Gene was experiencing a massive heart attack, yet while he was in and out of consciousness, he was worried about the grass he needed to replace, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Sod releases nitrogen, which heats up the roll it often is delivered in, causing it to die as soon as 12 hours after it’s harvested. While it can live longer in colder temperatures, Gene, who pawned his favorite gun to buy the sod, knew that the exposure of the July heat would quickly kill the grass. The family would not be able to afford new sod in time to make the homeowner association deadline; to add to the stress, Melissa would be undergoing an expensive procedure next month for a bone marrow transplant.

Melissa wrote on Facebook: “While he was having his heart attack, literally in and out of consciousness, he kept begging me to figure out the sod and have it put down because he didn’t want it to go to waste and die. I calmed him and kept saying ‘Jesus will help us. It’s OK. Jesus will figure this out, babe.’”

As Pasco County Fire Rescue transported Gene and Melissa to the hospital, Gene’s brother, Mark Rouco, stayed behind to replant the sod.

Rouco was working when he saw two emergency vehicles return to his house. Initially, he thought they were checking on him, but then the seven firefighters informed him they were there to help with the yard.

The team of eight men replanted the turf in just an hour.

Melissa wrote: “They saved his life, dropped him off and then cared enough to save our GRASS!!  They didn’t know our HOA was going to fine us. They didn’t know that this guy’s wife (Me) is about to fight for my own life during my bone marrow transplant next month. They didn’t know that my husband pawned his favorite gun to pay for the sod that he thought was going to die. They didn’t know all we have been through as a little family. They simply saw someone in need, something in need and did this for us. This wasn’t in their job description.”

Gene, who had significant blockage in his carotid artery and had to have stents placed, is now recovering at home. His wife should also be thanked; if she had waited much longer to call an ambulance, her husband might not have made it, according to doctors.

Gene and Melissa Work are hoping that they can find the firefighters who did this for their family so they can thank them in person for their kindness.

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