FOWLER TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Neighbors looking out for each other in Fowler made a big impact on Saturday.
Delmer Lockhart, 86, is a regular at the Vienna Circle K. He’d come in, pick up a newspaper, chat with people, and even empty the outside trash can.
“I’ve been there seven years and he comes every night,” said employee Nancy McNeal.
McNeal and her fellow worker, Terri McLemore, noticed Lockhart hadn’t been around the store for nearly a week. They called his neighbor, Bill Shreves, who was driving with his wife to their daughter’s softball game when he got the call.
“We decided we better go back and look. You knew that if you pulled in that driveway and his car was there, he was there,” Shreves said. “If they had not seen him in a week, his routine was pretty solid.”
The mailbox was stuffed — that was the first clue. Then Shreves saw Lockhart’s van and noticed the newspaper on the dashboard was a week old.
They called law enforcement and got into the house.
Lockhart was lying by the door, trapped under a hoard of items.
“He’s been there his whole life. Just don’t know that he was lying there in pain, suffering. It shook us up. It really did,” McLemore said.
Lockhart was born and raised in that house, according to neighbors. He never married but served in the military and came back to take care of his mother.
As they were carrying Lockhart out of the house, Shreves gave him a message:
“I said, ‘Delmer, the girls at Circle K were worried about you.’ He said, ‘Tell them to mind their own damn business.’”
Lockhart is known as a bit of a loner. Boxes, papers, and other items were stacked to the ceiling inside his house.
There were inklings that he might have some stuff but nothing as bad as photos police took at the house.
Neighbors are just glad he’s alive.
“Thank the Lord that He used me in that way. Don’t feel like a hero at all. I think it is anything that anyone would do for a neighbor,” Shreves said.
The ladies at Circle K hope they get to see Lockhart again at the store.
“Give him a great big hug. Tell him he is not allowed to scare us like that again,” McLemore said.
Lockhart also hung out at Yankee Kitchen and had a strong relationship with the workers there.
Federal privacy laws prevent WKBN 27 First News from getting an update on Lockhart’s condition or even finding out if he’s in the hospital.