Two Residents Receive Hometown Hero Award

Published on September 12, 2023

Five people are posing for a photo. Two have a glass Hometown Hero Award in their hand.

Gerry Flores and her boyfriend, Jerrod Young, noticed something odd. They hadn’t seen their neighbor, Ralph Cochran, in a few days. Usually, they say “hi” to each other about every day.

Something didn’t feel right, so the two called the Merriam Police Department and asked officers to do a wellness check on their 82-year-old neighbor. Merriam police officers found Ralph in his home on the ground. 

Ralph doesn’t remember much. He knows he fell in his home and couldn’t get up for at least two days, but not much else. Ralph does know that Gerry and Jerrod saved his life. Ralph said that had the two not called the police, he may have died.

In an emotional reunion at Monday’s City Council meeting, Ralph hugged Gerry and Jerrod after they were honored with the City of Merriam’s Hometown Hero Award.

Mayor Bob Pape and Merriam Police Chief Darren McLaughlin presented the awards to the two for the concern and compassion they showed Ralph and for calling the police, which likely saved his life.

Gerry and Jerrod are just happy they can continue saying a daily hello to their neighbor and good friend, Ralph.

If you know someone who should be honored with a Hometown Hero Award, tell us why at


Jerrod Young hugs Ralph Cochran at a Merriam City Council meeting.