What's Right in Your Community: John Cochran


Not 20-years-old, not 70-years-old, but old enough to know the power of words. One Kearney man is using motivating words to go through life, but also to help others through the obstacles at his neighborhood gym.

Standing at 93-years-old, John Cochran is nowhere close to being out of breath.

"Roosevelt stressed to living the vigorous life; to live a vigorous life. That's what I wanted," said Cochran.

Starting in high school Cochran made a promise to keep fit, but not exactly 100 percent.

"Once in a while, I'll have a couple of Hershey kisses. That's just a little bit of chocolate. That's all I need. I'm happy," shared Cochran.

Although, he was not much of a sports guy, he made his achievements in basic training.

"I humbly report I beat the three of them with a 8-feet, 4-inches jump, and I was in my late 40's. They were rather impressed," shared Cochran.

They were not just impressed with his physical capabilities, but with his mental proficiency as well.

"Everyone I see up here, I try to give a word of encouragement. [Everyone should do the same.] Please, make that a lifetime commitment because you'll be so glad you did," Cochran urged.

"He comes in and talks to individuals. He tells us his story about when he was our age, and just keeps it positive here. He makes our place a better place. He keeps us inspired and our members as well," said Ray Longoria, program manager at Kearney YMCA.

Cochran has been known for his words of encouragement either by telling a joke, or passing a strong message.

"I tell jokes everywhere I go. I meet people here, and tell them a joke. I go the bank, and tell the teller a joke. I check out the supermarket, and I tell them a joke," shared Cochran.

"Your thinking; your strength; your jokes. There's so much stuff with John. The way he is and how strong [is amazing]," said Heather Erickson, Kearney YMCA employee.

"For them to see me, they then tell themselves that ‘if he can do it, I can do it and do better.' I hope that it will encourage people to do better, and to believe in themselves," said Cochran.