A Kailua, Hawaii, community banded together to get medical help for a beloved homeless man, commonly known in the area as “Mango Man.”
John Cruz, aka Mango Man, had been suffering for some time but refused to accept medical care, reports KITV.
Last week, a group of residents who were concerned for Cruz’s health contacted local community physician Dr. Chad Koyanagi.
"I've heard of him, but I don't know him," Koyanagi said, according to My Kailua. "I won't let anyone out there die, if I can help it."
A homeless outreach team from the Waikiki Health Center, along with the Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services, was organized by Koyanagi and the group went to help Cruz.
It is believed Cruz is a Vietnam War veteran in his late 60s. He has dreadlocks down to his waist, wears an army jacket, and frequently sleeps under the mango trees — hence his nickname. Cruz was hit by a car a few years ago and uses a walker now to move around his island community.
Cruz does not ask for money or help, but simply sits quietly and watches over the neighborhood.
“You go from the airport, come home, get yourself your favorite plate lunch, and then you go see Mango Man,” resident Daniela Stolfi-Tow told The Huffington Post. “You’re so relieved to see him.”
Cruz received treatment at a hospital and is still undergoing medical attention. It is likely he will remain hospitalized for an extended amount of time.
Community members have installed a sign for Cruz near a bus stop as a marker that his place is reserved for him.
“It’s to say, 'We’re holding your spot when you’re ready to come back,'” Stolfi-Tow said.
Photo Credit: My Kailua/Facebook