VINEYARD, Utah – A trio of first responders in Utah County are commended and thanked for two acts of kindness. First, they saved a man’s life. Second, they stayed close and finished pouring concrete in his backyard.
Two Orem firefighters and a Utah County sheriff’s deputy responded to a call in September for a Vineyard man suffering from a heart attack.
“His heart actually stopped beating,” Katie Keith said of her husband. “Then he fainted.”
Mark Keith, 43, was pouring a concrete patio extension in his backyard when he fell face down in the wet cement.
Katie and the couple’s son-in-law quickly got him to a flat area and called 911. Mark’s pacemaker had to shock him a number of times to keep him alive.
“Even though I was having this big episode, all I could think about was that concrete,” Mark KSL said from his hospital bed.
As he was in the ambulance on his way to the hospital, firefighters Jason Garcia and Jared Rosequist, along with Dep. Caleb Olson set to work with the half-poured concrete that would soon be ruined.
“He’s trying to finish this project, let’s see if we can give him a little help and take some of the pressure off of him,” Garcia said.
Garcia said it was an easy decision and the right thing to do.
“This is an opportunity where I can help someone who is in need,” he said. “That’s how I saw it, and that’s how I try to live my life.”
Fellow firefighter Rosequist had experience with concrete flatwork and helped manage the project.
“I thought, ‘Let’s do it. The tools are here. let’s get things done I’ll shovel stuff,'” Garcia recalled.
Mark is still in the hospital recovering from a heart transplant.
“I can’t thank them enough for being really great people — good people,” Mark said. “It just took a huge load off my chest that I had to go all the way to the hospital.”
Mark said it was a great relief to know the patio extension was poured and that the rented mixer wasn’t filled with dry concrete.
“Thanks to them, it’s made it a lot easier for me to rest and recover a little bit easier,” he added. “So thank you, sincerely, all three of you.”
“They really saved a life, but they really changed our lives that day, too,” Katie said of the act of kindness. “It was an absolutely amazing gesture. It was overwhelming.”
Mark and Katie said they look forward to meeting first responders again and thanking them personally.
“The fact that they did it right away – there was no hesitation,” Katie said. “Of course I offered to pay, which they refused. They not only took care of my husband’s life and saved his life, but they took care of us personally.”