First Responders Save Man Having Heart Attack, Then Finish His Yardwork

First Responders Save Man Having Heart Attack, Then Finish His Yardwork

The yardwork was “ALL he kept asking about literally during a massive heart attack,” the man’s wife said.
First responders from Pasco County Fire Rescue Station 10 help lay sod after local man Gene Work had a heart attack.

Mark Rouco
First responders from Pasco County Fire Rescue Station 10 help lay sod after local man Gene Work had a heart attack.

Firefighters and EMTs in Florida not only saved a man’s life; they also saved his lawn.

Gene Work of Pasco County, Florida, was laying sod on his yard to avoid a hefty fine from his homeowner’s association when the hard work triggered a heart attack.

Gene and Melissa Work. Emergency responders "simply saw someone in need, something in need and did this for us," Melissa

Melissa Work
Gene and Melissa Work. Emergency responders “simply saw someone in need, something in need and did this for us,” Melissa said.

“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,” the man’s wife, Melissa Work, wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “It’s ALL he kept asking about literally during a massive heart attack.”

She told HuffPost that her husband kept on mentioning the sod, even when first responders showed up — and they took notice.

The firetruck that arrived … then later returned.

Mark Rouco
The firetruck that arrived … then later returned.

Gene Work’s brother-in-law, Mark Rouco, stayed behind to finish laying down the sod while the couple went to the hospital. He had been working on the yard for a bit when the sound of loud engines started getting closer, Rouco told HuffPost.

He then turned around and saw the same fire engine and ambulance that had just taken his brother-in-law to the hospital.

“Then one of the gentlemen got out of the fire truck and told me they had come back to finish laying the sod because they didn’t want it to die,” Rouco said. “They all just jumped in and helped me complete their yard.”

“I felt relieved because I knew the yard would be finished for Gene … and that meant I didn’t have to work until midnight [finishing it alone],” he added.

The firefighters who helped Mark Rouco lay down the sod after his brother-in-law's heart attack.

Mark Rouco
The firefighters who helped Mark Rouco lay down the sod after his brother-in-law’s heart attack.

Melissa Work said that right before her husband got out of surgery, Rouco called to give her the good news.

“I was like, ‘Stop it!’ I just lost it,” she told HuffPost.

She said she was so excited, the first thing she told her husband when he got out of surgery was that their lawn was saved.

Almost done!

Mark Rouco
Almost done!

“He was bawling,” she said. “He had the biggest smile — and didn’t even mention anything like, ‘I just survived a deadly heart attack.’ It was just, ‘Oh my God, my grass is done!’”

The finished yard.

Mark Rouco
The finished yard.

Pasco County Fire Rescue confirmed the good deed in a Facebook post and wished Gene Work “a speedy recovery!”

Melissa Work said that ever since she posted the story on Facebook and it went viral, she’s been getting a ton of love from their community — and the first responders that helped them are feeling it, too.

On Tuesday, the firefighters who came to the couple’s rescue — Pasco County Fire Rescue Station 10 — were honored for their kindness, and the Works got the opportunity to re-meet and thank them.

“They didn’t know all we have been through as a little family,” Melissa Work wrote on Facebook. “They simply saw someone in need, something in need and did this for us. This wasn’t in their job description.”

Download

headshot
Elyse Wanshel

Reporter, HuffPost
Suggest a correction

MORE:

FloridaHeart AttackFirefightersFirst RespondersYardwork