We all know that firefighters save lives. That’s their job. So is saving our property from the destructive forces of fire and maybe even the occasional saving of a kitten stuck in a tree.
But we’re pretty sure that laying sod isn’t under any of their job descriptions.
But nevertheless, firefighters and paramedics the from Pasco County Fire Rescue went above and beyond their call of duty to make sure an unfinished job of one of their patients was completed.
It all started when Gene Work of Bayonet Point, Florida started having chest pains while laying down sod in his yard.
Despite his pain, he kept on working.
Which is no surprise, his last name is Work after all! But Gene was on a specific mission to finish the job that day so that he wouldn’t be fined by his homeowner’s association.
“We had just received our last four pallets (of sod) and were going to finish it,” his wife, Melissa Ann Work, told New Port Richey Patch. “It’s been my husband’s biggest stress as our HOA date to fine us a huge amount was getting closer.”
Melissa started to become concerned and tried to intercede. Her husband, however, just brushed it off as he was set on finishing up.
“He was arguing with me, saying that it’ll pass, it’ll be fine,” Melissa told InsideEdition.com.
Thankfully Melissa was taught to recognize the signs of a heart attack by her mother and sister who are critical care nurses.
When her husband started throwing up, she immediately called 911. Doctors said it was her quick thinking that saved her husband’s life.
“His whole right coronary artery was completely clogged,” she said. “They said if I had waited a few more minutes to call 911, he would have died.”
Even as emergency service responders attended to Gene and put him on a gurney, Gene’s mind was set on one thing… the sod.
“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,” said Melissa. “It’s ALL he kept asking about literally during a massive heart attack. I calmed him and kept saying, ‘Jesus will help us. It’s OK. Jesus will figure this out, babe.'”
Melissa’s brother-in-law, Mark Rouco of Pinellas Park, had been helping Gene with the job and stayed to finish up by himself while Gene and Melissa were at the hospital.
He figured he would be there until at least midnight getting the job done.
Mark still had to remove the old grass, then replace it with the sod. He was shocked to see who showed up to help him finished up the work.
“As he was laying it, he heard huge trucks driving back down the road. He turned around and saw the fire truck and ambulance had come back. He was confused and thought they were coming to check on him,” Melissa wrote on Facebook. “Before he knows it, 7 firefighters and EMT’s jumped out, put on gloves and said they came back because they knew Gene was in serious trouble and they wanted to lay the new sod so it didn’t die. They knew he wouldn’t be able to do any work for weeks so they came back.”
The firefighters and paramedics dropped Gene off at the hospital, then came back to save the grass. They didn’t even know the Works were facing a fine or that Gene pawned his favorite gun to pay for the sod.
They didn’t know that Melissa would be in the hospital the following month for a bone marrow transplant.
“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,” Melissa explained.
Melissa posted the tribute on Facebook hoping to track down those who helped so she could thank them. That Facebook post ended up going viral and was shared more than 84,000 times.
The Works and their two children ended up going to the station to visit the firefighters and say thank you.
“Going through the whole process I recognize their faces but I didn’t really know what was going on so I just wanted to come back and say thank you,” said Gene.
Firefighters were overjoyed to see that Gene was feeling better.
“You can just tell by his posture and mentality he’s feeling way better. I’m happy to see that,” firefighter Tyler Romanowski told ABC Action News.
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After the story went viral, Sod Depot of Tampa offered to refund the $900 the Works spent on the sod. A GoFundMe account has also be set up to help the family and Melissa with their medical costs which you can find here.
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