It was a hot, humid day in Pasco County, Fla., on Saturday, and Gene Work was trying to beat the clock to lay down sod in his yard so he wouldn't face a fine from his homeowners association. But the 40-year-old, who was working with his brother-in-law Mark Rouco, soon wasn't feeling well—and it turned out he was having a heart attack, per ABC News. His wife, Melissa Work, called 911, and about a half-dozen firefighters arrived to rush Gene Work to the hospital. But while he was drifting in and out of consciousness, his wife says he could only focus on one thing. "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," she writes in a Facebook post. "It's ALL he kept asking about literally during a massive heart attack. LOL." He relayed his same fears to the first responders on his way to the hospital, and they were obviously listening.
Per the Tampa Bay Times, Rouco, who'd stayed behind in the yard to try to finish the job, suddenly saw the emergency vehicles that had just been there returning. Rouco thought they were coming to check on him, but they were there for a different reason: to help him put the rest of the sod down. All together, they got the job done in an hour. At a ceremony Tuesday honoring the first responders, Gene Work told them he cried when he was shown a picture of the finished sod job after his emergency surgery. "On paper, we've been dealt a lot of difficulties," Melissa Work, who will be receiving a bone marrow transplant next month, tells the Times. "But we teach our kids to look for the positives, and that is what this was." An extra gesture of kindness: After seeing Melissa Work's Facebook post, the sod company refunded all of the family's money. (California firefighters saved a dog, mouth to snout.)