A group of Florida firefighters are being praised after photos of them mowing the lawn of a man whose home they had been called to went viral.
The first responders - Capt. Daniel Papa, Driver Engineer Eugene Mobley, Firefighter Scot Kortright, Firefighter Timothy Sinnott, Firefighter Joseph DePiero and Fire Explorer Jordan Gennusa – responded to a 911 call late Saturday afternoon at the home of Ralph McCrory in Spring Hill, Fla.
McCrory had been mowing his lawn in the summer heat when he started to experience what he told his wife he thought was a heart attack.
A rescue crew rushed McCrory to a local hospital - where he is now undergoing more tests and awaiting possible heart surgery - while the firefighters stayed behind to ask his wife if they could help.
“The story he had been telling them is that it would take about him about four days to mow his lawn and he had to do it in pieces because of his health condition,” Hernando County Fire Rescue Asst. Chief Kevin Carroll told ABC News. “In Florida this time of year, with the rain, it’s time to start over again mowing your lawn after four days.”
“The firefighters told his wife that they’d like to help out and asked where the lawnmower was,” Carroll said. “They stayed and it took about 30 minutes to cut the grass, which was about two-feet high.”
The firefighters’ gracious act was captured on camera by McCrory’s neighbor, Jacob Shipp, who posted the photos on his Facebook page, where they quickly went viral.
“I really wanted to get something positive in the news, especially concerning first responders,” Shipp told ABC News. “I have both police and fire in my immediate family and know how all of the negative stories lately can affect morale both in the workplace and in the community.”
“It’s time to renew the sense of community, and that was a perfect situation for me to capture,” he said.
The firefighters’ supervisor, Carroll, says the crew was so humble about their good deed that he did not even know about it until long after it was shared on Facebook.
“The director of the facility where my mom lives called me and said they wanted to bring lunch to the firefighters who had helped,” Carroll said. “I asked her what she was talking about and she said she had seen it on Facebook. “
“We’re very appreciative of him taking the time to take the pictures and to post them on Facebook and share,” Carroll said of Shipp. “People get to see what’s in the hearts of these folks, which is rarely seen.”
The firefighters – which included a 10th grade “Explorer” who was shadowing the crew that day – were honored this morning by the Hernando County Commission for going above and beyond their call of duty.
“These guys weren’t looking to be recognized, this is just what the people in this profession do,” Carroll said. "Our folks, and not just our folks, public safety individuals around the country, they do this kind of stuff for people - it might be making a sandwich for a diabetic whose sugar is low, taking out trash or fixing a tire - they do this all the time and rarely, rarely ever get recognized and don’t look to get recognized."