In the last couple of years of his life, Cleveland Mayor Otis Cohn coined a phrase that now is widely used by other city leaders: “If you know about it, crow about it,” meaning that if you have good news, share it.
If he were alive today, Cohn, who died in March 2020 after a four-year cancer fight, would be crowing about the expansion of a cancer infusion center in Cleveland that now bears his name.
On Monday, June 21, Cohn’s widow, Mary Merrell Cohn, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, State Rep. Ernest Bailes and city leaders gathered at the Cleveland clinic, located at 314 N. San Jacinto Ave., for the official grand opening of Millennium Physicians’ oncology clinic that includes the Otis Malcolm Cohn Jr. Infusion Center.
Although Millennium Physicians has operated a clinic in Cleveland for several years, the newly expanded space on N. San Jacinto Ave., is dedicated to serving the oncology needs of patients, with treatments ranging from infusions, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
“We treat all kinds of cancer – breast cancer, colon cancer, lymphoma and melanoma. We do everything,” said Dr. Pierre Nassif Khoury, vice president of Millennium Physicians. “Radiation is currently done at our clinic in Kingwood but we are hoping to open a radiology center in the Cleveland area soon.”
The cancer treatment center is the first of its kind in Liberty County. Previously cancer patients and their family members were forced to travel to facilities in the Houston Medical Center or in neighboring cities. The Cleveland cancer clinic officially opened in January but the grand opening was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Khoury said that cancer patients will no longer need to feel like a number at cancer treatment centers in Houston. At the Cleveland clinic, with its motto of “Quality Care Close to Home,” patients will be treated as family members, he said.
Speaking to a packed room of supporters at the grand opening of the Cleveland clinic, Babin said naming the facility in honor of Cohn was a fitting tribute as the former mayor valiantly fought Stage 4 cancer even as he advocated for his community.
“There are very few people in this room who haven’t been touched by cancer in some form or fashion,” said Babin.
Cohn’s widow, Mary, was asked to help place a plaque on the wall recognizing her husband. She thanked the clinic’s doctors, nurses and employees for their many kindnesses to him and for their patience when his visits with Dr. Khoury ran past closing time.
“I felt sorry for Dr. Khoury’s staff when Otis was visiting. He was always the last patient so he would not hold up the other patients. Dr. Khoury and his staff were not only nurses and doctors; they became family,” she said.
According to Khoury, he and Cohn met in 2014 and had discussed Cohn’s dream of having a cancer treatment clinic in Cleveland on numerous occasions.
Looking heavenward, Khoury said, “Otis, I know you are looking down and smiling. Your dream has come true.”