The Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group Hometown Hero, Nicole Cochran was recognized last week for her dedication to changing a child’s life. Nicole was granted legal custody of William when his custodial grandmother past away last May. For the first time in his life he attends school, has his own room, clean clothes, plenty of food and a loving family.

“Nicole is very deserving to be recognized.  She has made such a difference in William’s life and has made so many sacrifices to give him the life he deserves”, said Nicole’s sister, Michelle Cochran.  “Nicole adored him from the moment she met him. That was 7 years ago and she has never missed an opportunity since then to tell him how much she loves him.”  Nicole is in the process of saving money to legally adopt William.

“To be awarded Darrell Waltrip’s Hometown Hero made me feel so honored….then I read about some of the past winners and I was so deeply humbled to be thought of in the same class,” shared Cochran.  “I really believe that every single person has the power to impact people’s lives in a positive way.  Some impact a large group, like many of the past honorees, and some, like me, just commit to doing whatever it takes to change one child’s life.  I am so grateful for this recognition but the biggest reward I get is daily when I watch William blossom.”

Seven years ago, Nicole stepped in as an additional caretaker when her sister was asked to be the foster parent to a 3-year-old little boy named William that had suffered severe neglect from his biological parents.  His 6-month-old brother died as a result of this neglect.  She didn’t realize she would be signing up for the most difficult stretch of time life had dealt her so far.  Her love of this little boy never faltered despite a failed adoption attempt, and subsequent placement by the state with his paternal grandmother for 6 years as well as her own diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis that paralleled these events.

“I am consistently inspired by Nicole. She always looks for opportunities to find the good in her life, never dwelling on the bad. She always thinks of others before herself,” shared friend Melonee Hurt. Darrell Waltrip will be making a $500 donation to the MidSouth Chapter of the National MS Society as well. Darrell Waltrip Automotive’s Hometown Heroes is a monthly event honoring local heroes.  To nominate your hero visit


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Andrea Hinds
Andrea has always loved the written word. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Masters in Creative Writing, both from Belmont University. Both sides of her family have lived in Williamson County for generations, so writing for Williamson Source is the perfect fit. She loves to hear stories of what Williamson County was like when her parents and grandparents were young and to write about this ever evolving county is truly special for her.