When his home and family life was in turmoil, Kathy Cochran came to her nephew’s rescue. At the time Robert Cochran was 15, living in Kansas, and the court was about to place him in a foster home again. Kathy gave the court another option. She agreed to take him in, and the judge awarded her custody.

“Aunt Kathy . . . has been my best friend, my mom, and my guardian angel all at the same time,” Robert wrote in a letter nominating her for Washington State University 2002 Mom of the Year. She was selected from 24 candidates and recognized at the April 13 Mom’s Weekend brunch in the Compton Union Building.

“She has instilled morals and values in a young man who might otherwise be continuing a downward spiral . . . ,” wrote Robert, a WSU junior with an interest in communications.

A Seattle lawyer, Kathy Cochran helped her nephew make the transition from the Midwest to Seattle. She encouraged him to become involved in activities and make new friends, while encouraging opportunities for him to further his relationships with his grandparents and father.