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Blessings come to those who give

By Staff
KEMPER COUNTY VOLUNTEERS n Mamie Cochran, third from left, became one of Kemper County Hospital's first volunteers in 1982. She is pictured with fellow volunteers Flora Hampton, left, Julia Bailey and Cora Moore. Hampton, 81, still considers herself a volunteer even though she is now a resident at the nursing home. Photo by Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
Dec. 9, 2001
DEKALB "You can never stop learning, growing and doing for others."
That's Mamie Cochran's recipe for a long, happy life.
Visiting the Kemper County native, you wouldn't believe she turns 80 next month. She likes to travel, garden and spend time with her nine grandchildren.
But every Wednesday morning when she is home, she goes to the old Kemper County hospital, trying to make life a little happier for the nursing home residents there.
Times change
Born and raised in Scooba, Cochran moved away from Mississippi after she and her husband, Keith, married in 1941. They lived a few years in Oakridge, Tenn., and then moved to League City, Texas, where they raised four children.
In 1977, they moved back to Kemper County. She became involved in the homemakers club. In 1982, longtime Chamber of Commerce director Juanice Evans established a ladies auxiliary for the hospital, and Cochran was one of the first to join.
Today, the building looks the same, but the hospital ceased to exist several years ago. What was once the Kemper County Hospital is now Kemper Homeplace Nursing Facility. John and Leslie Kingery of Collinsville became the owners last summer.
Cochran still visits every Wednesday.
Cochran is the last of the original 35 volunteers.
Staying busy
When not volunteering, she likes to work in her flower garden.
Cochran recently entered new territory when she and her husband purchased their first computer.
Cochran has an understanding with her husband. He likes to hunt and she likes to travel.
Recently, she spent three weeks in Texas with her grandchildren.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at