HUDSON, Fla. – When Gene Work suffered a massive heart attack while doing yard work at his home, the Pasco County first responders who helped get him to the hospital, didn't stop there.
Several firefighters and medics returned to Work’s home to finish the yard work he and his brother had started, according to a Facebook post from Work’s wife that’s now been shared tens of thousands of times.
Tuesday morning, Work and his family turned the tables and surprised those first responders with a reunion at the fire station where they were all able to meet each other.
"We wanted them to feel loved and we wanted everyone to know about them," Melissa Work said, referring to her now-viral Facebook post.
"I know they didn’t do it for that but that was our way of letting them know, ‘Look, what you did was a big deal.’”
Work was rushing to lay new sod in his yard when he suffered the heart attack.
In her widely shared Facebook post about it, Melissa Work said it was her husband’s "biggest stress as our HOA (homeowner’s association) date to fine us a huge amount was getting closer.”
But following the incident, Work was more concerned about the sod than his own health, his wife said.
"All he kept wanting to talk about what his sod," said paramedic Boyd Marshall. "You could tell it was weighing on him."
Work’s brother stayed behind to finish the job but was shocked when several firefighters and EMT’s returned to the home, jumped out of their trucks, put on gloves and began helping.
“They weren’t even back three seconds and one of the guys on the rescue was like, ‘Hey you think we should go throw that sod,'" Marshall recalled. "I was like, ‘Yep let’s go,’ so we all went and just did it.”
While in the hospital, Work says he cried when his wife showed him the picture of his finished lawn. He couldn't believe it.
“I was just so grateful for the grass, I didn’t even think about you guys saving my life," he said, laughing.
"We can't repay them."
To top things off, Sod Depot of Tampa, the company Work purchased the sod from, refunded the $900 he originally spent purchasing the sod, the family revealed on Tuesday.
The purchase had put a big financial strain on the family, another reason Work said he was worried it would die if it wasn't laid in time.
As if Gene's medical emergency isn't enough, the family says Melissa will undergo a major surgery herself next month: a bone marrow transplant.
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