All that Gene Work could think about as he battled a heart attack was the sod that needed to be planted.
As he was placed on a stretcher and hauled to a hospital, he begged his family to get it done, fearing a possible homeowner's association fine for dead grass.
"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," his wife, Melissa Work recanted on Facebook.
"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.' "
Turns out, the Pasco County paramedics kept a close ear on his requests. After dropping Work off at a nearby emergency room, seven firefighters headed back to Work's front lawn as doctors worked to unclog his right coronary artery.
They had work to do.
They put on their gloves and planted the grass in time to dodge a looming HOA fine for a withering lawn.
In her post, Work's sobbing wife explained that the action meant more than the servicemen could imagine.
"They came back!!! They saved his life, dropped him off and then cared enough to save our GRASS!!
They didn't know our HOA was going to fine us.
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.
They didn't know that my husband pawned his favorite gun to pay for the sod that he thought was going to die.
They didn't know all we have been through as a little family.
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."
The deed has received an overwhelming response on social media; his story has been shared more than 32,000 times. Some people gave the servicemen a virtual standing ovation from thousands of miles away.
"You made firefighters proud all over the country when you returned and helped this family," posted the Anne Arundel County Retired Firefighters Facebook group from Maryland.
Dozens of other fire departments also weighed in, including first responders in San Antonio, St. Petersburg and New England.