Don Cochran is a vocal and devoted member of the Lutheran Child and Family Services' Board of Trustees who has been serving for more than 11 years. He has also served on the LCFS Camp Wartburg Board. He quotes renowned football coach and general manager Vince Lombardi's philosophy of life when describing his own.
" Lombardi said that if you want to be a Green Bay Packer there are three priorities in your life. One is God and your faith. Two is your family. And three is the Green Bay Packers. The most important thing to me is my faith and my family. And then, because I've been blessed with so much, it's to give back time and talents because I have been so fortunate."
Don became a Lutheran when his father-in-law made it a requirement to marry his daughter Judy. Prior to that, he only attended church when his mother dragged him, two times a year - Christmas mass and sunrise service on Easter morning.
"Becoming a Lutheran was the best thing that ever happened to me," said Don. "Over the years my faith grew and today, I am a 'proper' Lutheran."
Raised in a single parent household, Don watched his mother work two jobs to support him and his sister.
"I grew up with very few resources," said Don. "Most people would call it lower middle class or poor, but I never knew the difference because I was happy. Watching her instilled in me a strong work ethic. A day's work for a day's pay. It made me set some goals for my life."
That work ethic contributed to Don's success at IBM where he worked until he retired. But, on a random fishing trip, he learned about tithing and believes that this practice played a big part in his many blessings.
"I remember the fish weren't biting so to pass the time, my buddy and I began to talk about church," said Don. "The subject turned to tithing (to which I was totally unfamiliar) and he explained it to me and the benefits. I remember saying, 'You want me to give away money so that I can get more? Well that doesn't make any sense.' He said, 'I know it doesn't, but try it for a year.'"
Forty years later, Don is still tithing.
"He was right. The more I gave to God, the more I received from Him," Don said. "The more I lived for God, the more God took care of me, even in the smallest details of my life."
Blessed by the Lord with children and grandchildren, Don naturally wants to share what he has been given with them and included them when planning his will. Additionally, as part of his tithing practice, Don thoughtfully decided to include a legacy gift to LCFS, along with two other organizations, so that he can continue to impact causes that he is passionate about.
"Because I grew up in a fatherless home, I have an appreciation for how difficult it is for single parents that are trying to raise their children," Don said. "And that personal background really makes me appreciate the services that LCFS provides to children and families in need."
When it comes to his legacy Don wants to be equally remembered for his financial giving as well as the giving of his time and talents in the work he does to resolve issues and improve services by working on the agency's boards.
"To me, this is more important than the financial support that I gladly give," said Don. "I would like my legacy to be that the family I leave behind remains healthy and happy. And for people to say, that I did some things to help other people. That would be enough."
You can leave a lasting legacy that will nurture and protect children and strengthen families for years to come by leaving a gift to LCFS in your will. CLICK HERE to find out more or contact Marylyn Rodgers at (708) 488-5557 or Marylyn_Rodgers@lcfs.org.