Pasco County man suffers heart attack while laying sod, first responders come back to finish yard

Posted at 11:14 AM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 11:52:36-04

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Gene Work's life was saved after he suffered a major heart attack while putting in new sod over the weekend. 

As he fought for his life at the hospital, Pasco County Firefighters and EMT's returned to his house to finish the job he couldn't. 

"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, Gene's wife.

She says the day started out in a hurry to lay down sod on half of their property. They were down to the last 4 pallets when he suffered the heart attack. Gene says he kept telling first responders to do the EKG again, "I didn't believe it was a heart attack," he said.

"My gut knew it and I went to him and he’s laying there crying and he’s like but my sod, my sod! I was like stop you’re having a heart attack stop it," Melissa said, smiling.

As they rushed off to the hospital, Work says her brother-in-law stayed back with plans to finish the sod. 

"As he was laying, he heard huge trucks driving back down the road. He turned around and saw the fire truck and ambulance had come back," she said. "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."

"There have been so many days of crying not because of the heart attack because of them and what they did for us," said Gene. "I just broke down in tears I couldn't believe it."

Melissa is also about to undergo a major surgery herself - a bone marrow transplant. Because of that, she will have to be in quarantine for a long while, which is one reason they wanted to get the sod done quickly.

"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," she said. "They simply saw someone in need, something in need and did this for us. This wasn't in their job description. We have no words. Just sobbing."

"It seems like all of this is bad but the community, the people reaching out to help us, it’s beautiful," she said. 

On Monday the company he purchased the sod from, Sod Depot of Tampa, said they would refund the $900 he originally spent purchasing the sod.