Heroes routinely go above and beyond the call of duty, but this story takes that notion to a new level.
One sultry day in July, Gene Work, of Bayonette Point, Florida was working hard outside with his brother, Mark Rouco, to lay down new sod in his yard. Gene’s homeowners’ association was threatening a hefty fine if he didn’t replace the sod by a certain date, and he’d had to hock his favorite gun just to make the expensive purchase. Now, he was working feverishly to get the pricey sod on the ground before it died.
As Gene worked, be began to feel a sharp pain in his chest that spread down his arm. Little did he know that his entire coronary artery was blocked, and he was having a massive heart attack. Thankfully, his wife Melissa Ann Work recognized the symptoms and called 911 just in time.
Firefighters and EMS workers rushed to the Work’s house. Throughout the ordeal, Gene repeatedly asked Melissa Ann what would happen to the new sod. In spite of the pain and fear he felt, all he could think of was the fine the HOA would slap on them if they didn’t finish, and the precious funds they’d used to purchase the sod in the first place.
“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. 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.'”
Paramedics transported Gene to the hospital, where he had surgery to install a stent. Doctors said that if Melissa Ann had waited just a few minutes more to call for help, he would not have made it.
As Melissa Ann reeled from the shock of what her husband had just gone through, her brother-in-law Mark had stayed behind to watch the children and continue working on the lawn. That’s when something so incredible that it feels downright miraculous happened: The firefighters and EMTs returned to the Work’s driveway.
As Mark watched in astonishment, firefighters poured from the truck, put on their work gloves, and proceeded to install the new sod for Gene and Melissa Ann.
“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.”
Melissa Ann was incredibly moved by the gesture, sharing on Facebook that these fine men not only saved her husband’s life, but they went out of their way to remove a burden that was weighing heavily on the family’s shoulders.
“They came back!!! They saved his life, dropped him off and then cared enough to save our GRASS!!”
Moreover, Melissa Ann herself has major health problems and is scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant in a few weeks. Their family has been struggling with several difficult situations, and this act of kindness felt like someone was throwing them a lifeline in the middle of a turbulent sea.
Melissa Ann shared photos of these kind-hearted strangers on her Facebook page, where the post quickly went viral. When Gene was released from the hospital, the family was finally able to thank their heroes in person, something Melissa Ann says means the world to their little family.
These men are the true definition of hero, and this is the sort of selfless act of kindness that makes our communities worth living in! While they could have simply returned to the station after saving Gene’s life, they made the decision to go the extra mile. We can all learn from this kind of devotion to helping others!
Be sure to share to say thank you to this brave bunch of heroes!