CLEVELAND — For more than a decade, Johnnie "Cowboy" Mayhew has been doing wellness checks on his elderly neighbors at Cleveland's Kingsbury Tower apartment complex and urges others to make checks during the Northeast Ohio heatwave.
Mayhew has been making wellness checks and producing gatherings at the east side apartment property, along with his wife Monica, makings sure his neighbors have proper hydration, supplies, and their air conditioning units are operating properly.
“I look out for them, I go to the store for them and I make sure they’re okay," Mayhew said. “I guess that’s a God-given gift to me.”
“Make sure your neighbor is alright, if you don’t, something can seriously happen because you would want someone to look after you. When it gets this hot it’s very important because you can die from heat stroke. If the door is locked I’ll bang on the door, and try and wake that person up if they fell asleep. Next thing I do, I’m getting on the phone dialing 911 while I’m banging.”
Monica Malik told News 5 that if you can't physically check on someone or reach them by phone, it's crucial you reach others who can make a visit.
“If somebody from your church, if somebody from the maintenance or management can get in and see if they’re okay, I usually call," Malik said. “It’s beautiful to be able to help somebody, and for someone to tell you what they need and to actually put a smile on someone's face. Some people feel like they’re forgotten.”
University Hospitals emergency room attending physician, Dr. Ben Boswell, told News 5 that consistent, multiple wellness checks during high temperatures are important, especially among the elderly and those who have serious ongoing health issues.
“Because with heat illness, heat stroke, issues like that, patients can get confused, they may not be acting like themselves so checking on them is of the utmost importance because that can change pretty rapidly," Boswell said. “As we age we lose the ability to regulate our body temperature, and so it’s extras important because it can change very rapidly. So hydrating and staying cool is very, very important.”
Meanwhile, there is plenty of appreciation among the elderly Johnnie "Cowboy" Mayhew checks on, neighbors like 90-year-old Denise Smedley and 85-year-old Dorothy Jones.
“A whole a lot of us in the building are older and sometimes we get out and sometimes we don’t you know," Jones said. “I appreciate him and I just love the way he does it.”
Smedley had a big hug and a smile for "Cowboy" and his wife.
“Cowboy, he’s alright," Smedley said with a laugh. “Thank you cowboy for looking after me."