Utah County first responders finish backyard concrete after saving man’s life

Nov 11, 2022, 6:25 PM | Updated: 7:10 pm

VINEYARD, Utah — A trio of first responders in Utah County is getting praise and thanks for two acts of kindness. First, they saved a man’s life. Second, they stuck around 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 cardiac episode.

“His heart actually stopped beating,” Katie Keith said about her husband. “That’s when he passed out.”

Mark Keith, 43, was in the processing of pouring a concrete patio extension in his backyard when he fell face down into the wet cement.

Katie and the couple’s son-in-law quickly moved him to flat ground and called 911. Mark’s pacemaker had to shock him a few times to keep him alive.

“Even though I just had this major episode, all I could think about was that concrete,” Mark told KSL from his hospital bed.

Once he was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, firefighters Jason Garcia and Jared Rosequist, along with Dep. Caleb Olson, got to work with the half-poured concrete that would soon be ruined.

“He’s trying to get this project done, let’s see if we can help him out a little bit and take some stress off of him,” Garcia said.

Garcia said it was an easy decision and the right thing to do.

“This an opportunity where I can help someone out that’s in need,” he said. “That’s the way I looked at it, and I’m trying to live my life that way.”

Fellow firefighter Rosequist had experience with concrete flatwork and helped direct the project.

“I was like: ‘Let’s do it. They’ve got the tools here. Let’s get stuff done. I’ll shovel stuff,’” Garcia recalled.

Mark is still in hospital recovering from a heart transplant.

“I can’t thank them enough for being really, really great people — good human beings,” Mark said. “It just took a huge weight off my chest that I had the whole way to the hospital.”

Mark said it was a huge relief knowing the patio extension was poured and that the rented mixer wasn’t full of dried concrete.

“It made me rest a lot easier, recover a bit easier, thanks to them,” he added. “So thank you, sincerely, all three of you.”

“Truly, they saved a life, but they also just really changed our life that day,” Katie said about the act of kindness. “It was an absolutely amazing gesture. It was overwhelming.”

Mark and Katie said they look forward to meeting the first responders again and thanking them in person.

“The fact that they did that instantly — there was no hesitation,” Katie said. “I, of course, offered to pay, which they refused. They not only were caring for my husband’s life and saving his life, but they cared about us personally.”

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