News, sports and entertainment for Richland Parish, La.

Cochran to lead annual parade

Adding honor and prestige to the annual Kiwanis Christmas Parade by serving as Grand Marshall at 10 a.m. Saturday is Charles Walter Cochran, the husband of Susan Clark Cochran for nearly 53 years.
They are the parents of Renee Cochran Dearman, Jess A. Cochran and Mary Ellen Brown as well as the proud grandparents of Kelsey and Maddie Dearman, and Hunter, Frances and Luke Brown. In addition to this, he is the winner of this year’s Sellers Aycock Community Service Award.
If his parents, Horace and Evelyn Griffis Cochran, had been thinking they would have named him “Service” for that is what he has done for the better part of his life. He got started early. In Rayville High School he belonged to several clubs not the least of which was the Key Club (a Kiwanis sponsored program) of which he was president.
He didn’t slow down when he went to Northeast Louisiana State College in 1964. He was elected class president his freshman and sophomore years.
In his junior year he was treasurer of the student government association. He was also member of Delta Demeter, Pi Sigma Epsilon, Scabbard and Blade, and ROTC not to mention Circle K, another Kiwanis sponsored club.
In his spare time he went to class and graduated with a BS in Agriculture Business in 1968 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the US Army. He received Armor Officer basic training at Ft. Knox, KY and was assigned to Fort Polk.
He served as range OIC and later as company Commander of AIT group. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service and was honorably discharged as a 1st Lt. in November of 1970.
He joined his parents in business at Cochran Tractor and joined the Rayville Kiwanis Club thus completing the service circle of Key Club, Circle K and Kiwanis. He served on the board of trustees and vice president of the club.
He became active in the Arthritis Foundation serving as Richland Parish Chapter president heading fund raising activities.
He served the Rayville Presbyterian Church as a Deacon and Elder. He later became a member of the Rayville United Methodist Church serving several years as Chairman of the Church Council and member of the board of trustees. He worked actively in Methodist Men and the annual Bar B Que, especially the eating part.
He has been on the school board as well as the town council. He was instrumental in getting the Rayville Civic Center built.
In June 2000 Walter was elected Executive Director by the board of directors of the Richland Voluntary Council on Aging. Under his leadership many improvements in service to the elderly were made while grants were obtained to supplement funding during constant cuts in state funding.
So much more could be said about his other community giving especially on the political scene but this paper has to go to press sometimes this week.
One final note, did I say he likes to eat? Friends knowing about this propensity noted that much to his wife’s dismay he constantly posts pictures of his food in restaurants on face book.
But what is little known is that he will often quietly “pay it forward” by motioning to the manager or server to give him the check for a young air force captain and his family, or a Barksdale B-52 crew, a friend struggling with chemo and her sister, maybe a group of local city policemen, a table of state troopers or just a friend celebrating some occasion.
You see now, why I say he brings honor to the position of Grand Marshall of the annual Kiwanis Christmas Parade.
The parade rolls at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.