Florida first responders finish laying sod after man suffers heart attack in yard

Posted at 9:14 AM, Jul 09, 2018

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

As he fought for his life at the hospital, Pasco County Firefighters and EM'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," Wonk's wife, Melissa, said.

She says the day started out in a hurry to lay down sod on half of their property. They were down to the last four pallets when he suffered the heart attack. Gene Work said 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 Work said.

As they rushed off to the hospital, Melissa Work said 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. "Seven firefighters and EMTs 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," Gene Work said. "I just broke down in tears. I couldn't believe it."

Melissa Work is also about to undergo a major surgery herself — a bone marrow transplant. She will have to be in quarantine for a while, which is one reason the Works wanted to get the sod done quickly.

"They didn't know that this guy's wife 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.