Smithville firefighters step up to mow lawn for heat exhaustion patient

SMITHVILLE, Mo. -- A Smithville man is thankful to be alive after suffering heat exhaustion. He's beyond grateful to the first responders who came to his rescue, for treating his illness and going above and beyond the call of duty.

Smithville firefighters know a thing or two about heat.

"Equipment like this--it's hot whether it's warm out or not. Nothing like putting on a snowsuit in the middle of summer," said Smithville Area Fire Protection District Chief Dave Cline.

While they take extra precautions this time of year, many of those they serve forget to do the same.

"Not everyone's acclimated to hot weather, and with the humidity, it can really affect folks," Cline said.

Roger Bledsoe was taking advantage of the hot, dry weather working in his Smithville yard this weekend, and started pulling weeds in the flower bed before mowing his lawn. But moments later, the heat became overwhelming and he stopped on the porch to rest.

"I knew I was getting very hot. I was sweating profusely and I've just never experienced feeling very weak and very light headed and dizzy," Bledsoe said.

He texted his wife for help. When she didn't answer, he rang the doorbell.

"We do have a couple dogs and I knew if I rang the bell the dogs would start rousing," he said.

Roger's wife came outside, and as a nurse, knew exactly what to do.

"She started wrapping cold towels around my neck, forehead, ice packs in my arm pits, trying to cool me off as much as possible while calling 911," Bledsoe said.

Paramedics from Smithville pumper 12 and an ambulance came to his aid. With some fluids, Roger was quickly on the mend and thankful to the first responders who saved him.

But what happened next took him by surprise.

"The doctor came in at the hospital and said everything looks good and we're going to send you home," Bledsoe said. "I happened to, as they were finishing up, got on my phone and got on Facebook and I see pictures of my house plastered all over Facebook."

It turns out, Smithville firefighters couldn't let his beautiful lawn be left half-done. They pulled out the mower and finished cutting his grass.

"We look to make an impact in our community every day. If there's a void to be filled, we'll do it," Cline said.

"It was extremely thoughtful and kind of them to do that. It really makes Smithville a great place to live knowing you have a tight-knit community like that where firefighters go above and beyond," Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe also said he's also learned valuable lessons on taking the sun's dangers seriously.

"Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate," Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe is also planning to treat the crew who helped him to pizza when they come back on shift Friday, as a token of his appreciation.

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