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Meet Gene Wagler

Leap Day is special for Gene Wagler of Clear Lake, IA and his family.

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On Feb. 29, 1996, Gene had a heart attack. He credits Dr. Samuel Congello, cardiologist with the Mason City Clinic and the Mercy Heart and Vascular Institute, with saving his life. On the 20th anniversary of the event, Gene and his wife, Pat, went to the Mason City Clinic to surprise Dr. Congello with 20 red roses — one for each of the past 20 years of Gene’s life — and a card that Pat made.

“It’s not necessary,” Congello told them. “It’s very necessary,” Pat said.

Gene didn’t have a history of heart problems before his heart attack. He said he didn’t feel any pain that day but he did experience a “gnawing” sensation in his chest. A trip to the Mason City Clinic and the ER at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa resulted in him spending most of the day with Dr. Congello, who performed a coronary angioplasty that included placing three stents. Read the rest of Gene’s story here.

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