Spring 2021 | Volume 26 | Issue 2 Industry Research: COVID-19 Impacts on Mental Health P.8 P.6 Golden Circle Celebration P.12 ‘Tribal Marketing’ for Veterans P.24 Tell Your Funeral Home’s Story1 www.ogr.org | The Independent®

The Independent® is a benefit of membership in the International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR), a not-for-profit organization tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, Federal ID No. 431828432. Published quarterly, The Independent® is mailed the first month of each new quarter. Non-member subscriptions (USD): One year: $40; two years: $60; single copy: $11.50. Send address changes to OGR, Attn: Mailing List, 3502 Woodview Trace, Ste. 300 Indianapolis, IN 46268. — BOARD of DIRECTORS — President President-elect ©2021 International Order of the Golden Rule. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Founded in 1928, OGR is composed of independently owned and operated funeral homes located throughout North America and overseas. Editorial material and letters of opinion are invited. Published articles reflect the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Association. OGR reserves the right to edit all submitted materials and does not assume responsibility for unsolicited materials. For author guidelines, contact the editor, (800) 637-8030, or visit www.ogr.org. Advertisers Index Access Financial Group ..................................................................... 31 Chris Chigas, (800) 487-8220, ext. 8233 cc@afinancial.com | www.afinancial.com Answering Service for Directors .......................................................... 37 Kevin Czachor, (800) 868-9950 sales@myasd.com | www.myasd.com Cremation Consulting ......................................................................... 11 Andrew Loos, (816) 808-6828 andrew@cremationconsulting.com The Dodge Company ........................................................................... 21 Timothy Collison, (800) 443-6343 tcollison@dodgeco.com | www.dodgeco.com Express Funeral Funding ..................................................................... 42 John Goebel, (812) 949-9011 john@expff.com | www.expressfuneralfunding.com The Foresight Companies ................................................................... 38 Catherine Belliveau, (602) 274-6464 catherine@f4sight.com | www.f4sight.com.com INEX, Inc. .......................................................................................... 30 Mike Burnett, (888) 829-8362 mike@inexinc.com | www.inexinc.com Matthews Aurora™ Funeral Solutions ................................................. 35 Marty Strohofer, (812) 926-5673 mstrohofer@matw.com | www.matw.com Nomis Publications ............................................................................ 10 Peggy Rouzzo peggy@nomispublications.com | www.nomispublications.com Skyways Media .................................................................................. 27 Garry Wayne, (289) 290-4409 garry@skyways-media.com | www.skyways-media.com Starmark Cremation Products ............................................................. 47 Arie Elder, (765) 966-7676 arie.elder@starmarkcp.com | www.starmarkcp.com Thumbies .......................................................................................... 14 Jennifer Myers, (877) 848-6243 jmyers@doughertyenterprises.com | www.thumbies.com 2 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 Secretary-Treasurer Immediate Past President Directors Mary F. Steele Evan J. Strong Paul A. Hummel, III Tom L. Hemmerle Kim R. Hunter Raffy S. Jose Chris B. Miller Peter A. Urban, Jr. Jamie L. Wieting — STAFF — Executive Director/CEO Member Resources Director Education & Events Director Communications Director Meetings & Mem. Coord. Communications Coord. Member Services Coord. Wendy King Nancy Weil Emilie Perkins, CAE, CMP Evan Hoffmeyer Alyssa Castille Adeline Border Krystal Flores Advertising is accepted at the discretion of the publisher. The advertisement of any product or service in The Independent® does not represent an endorsement of such product or service by OGR. Call the communications department to reserve space or to request a rate card and mechanical specifications. OGR does not accept ads that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, gender, disability or any other federally protected class. Publisher International Order of the Golden Rule 3502 Woodview Trace, Ste. 300 Indianapolis, IN 46268 phone: (800) 637-8030 fax: (512) 334-5514 email: info@ogr.org website: www.ogr.org The Independent® | Spring 2021 | Volume 26 | Issue 2

The Independent® | Spring 2021 | Volume 26 | Issue 2 Table of Contents 4 | President’s Message 5 | Membership Year Change 6 | 8 | 12 | 15 | 17 | 18 | 22 | 24 | 28 8 Between Good and Great Conquering the Conversation COVID-19 Lesson: Be Prepared! YP Spotlight: Hannah Rathman Tell Your Funeral Home’s Story 28 | Member Spotlight: Nelson Bros. 32 | 33 | Member News 36 | 39 | 40 | 43 | 44 | Supplier News Foundation Scholarship Recipients Above & Beyond In Memoriam Staff Directory 45 | Milestone Anniversaries 46 | 48 | The Day’s Not Over Yet OGR Event Calendar www.ogr.org | The Independent® 3 Referral Marketing: 10-minute Talks Golden Circle Celebration Shining a Light on Last Responders Become the Go-to for Veterans

Looking to the Future, Learning from the Past President’s Message President’s Message OGR is built on a strong foundation of over 93 years serving the Independent Funeral Home. With a dedicated board, outstanding staff and members who are there to support one another, we are ready to write the next chapter of OGR’s story. We have begun to implement a three-year strategic plan that was developed by the board, our staff and the leadership at our management company Raybourn Group International. Designed to adapt and grow with the ever-changing times, the plan addresses three key focus areas: programming excellence, membership growth and brand identity. With this in mind, our staff is evaluating all the current products, services and educational programs to ensure that they continue to meet our current needs. They also are working together to develop new ideas that will be created into valuable member benefits to enhance each area of our strategic plan. After reading more about our plan below, I invite you to get involved in making OGR an even better association. Programming Excellence In order to reach our goal of providing the industry standard for innovation, our programming will offer educational programs and events that are not only relevant to independent funeral home professionals and small business owners, but will push them to be the best they can be as they grow over different phases of their careers. As an international association, we will also harness technology so our programs and events are accessible to all for the betterment of the entire profession. If you would like to have a voice in this, reach out to Emilie Perkins, our talented education and events director, at EPerkins@OGR.org about serving on our Professional Development Committee. 4 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 Membership Growth OGR’s membership team, consisting of Nancy Weil, Alyssa Castille and Krystal Flores, have been tasked with continuing to engage our current members all while recruiting new funeral homes to join OGR. The strategic plan recognizes that our association needs to reflect the face of funeral service today, so we will strive to reach out to a diverse group, based not only in personal demographics, but also size and geographic location of the funeral home. The more new voices we bring in, the more we all benefit from their new ways of doing things. While strong programming may help us keep existing members, people often don’t join an association like ours for its benefits - people join people. A prospective member who hears from a trusted colleague about the value of their membership is more likely to join than a prospect who gets a marketing piece in their inbox or mailbox, no matter how slick it is. I hope you will keep this in mind when you are speaking with colleagues and share with them the positive experience you’ve had with OGR. Then let Nancy know to mail them information about joining by sending her an email at NWeil@OGR.org. Brand Identity Both programming excellence and membership growth & retention - and the entirety of our strategic plan, for that matter - come down to one question: Who will OGR be in its second century of existence? We’ll hit that grand milestone later this decade, but we shouldn’t wait for it to arrive to assess where we are and who we want to be. Our aim is to be considered an industry mark of excellence both within our professional community, as well as by the consumer. The OGR Ethical Standards certificate that I place into every folder that leaves with each family I serve reflects this commitment to the high level of service that is the underpinning of the Golden Rule. Reach out to OGR’s communications director Evan Hoffmeyer at EHoffmeyer@OGR.org if you need a copy of the certificate or any other OGR branding resources.

President’s Message President’s Message Excellence Amid the Unexpected While the strategic plan has been a major focus of my presidency, I have also been called upon to guide our association through a global pandemic that would change some of the most fundamental aspects of our society both in terms of how we live and how we honor those who die. Luckily, as death care professionals we are no strangers to handling the unexpected. It is something we face on a regular basis, and our members have met the challenge for our families with the highest levels of service we all strive for every day. Four of NFDA’s seven “Best of the Best” funeral homes came from among our ranks; American Funeral Director’s Funeral Director of the Year was Geri Oliverie, who joined OGR the same year she opened her first funeral home; and more than 1,000 funeral directors, embalmers and other employees of Golden Rule Funeral Homes have worked tens of thousands of hours to help the grieving amid their loss - and I think every OGR member would agree that a sincere “thank you” from a family you have served well in one of the most trying times of their lives is worth more than any accolade. We do still love taking time to honor the amazing work you do, whether it was stepping up to provide outstanding service or volunteering your time and reaching out to your communities while navigating your companies through a year we will never forget. Please set aside an hour of your time and join me on April 29 for the Golden Circle Celebration, this year’s virtual awards ceremony. This event will also serve as our annual meeting and the formal change of leadership to next year’s board of directors, including Evan J. Strong as your new president. Just flip the page in this magazine to learn more. I am privileged to have been your president this past year and honored to have counted myself among this esteemed association’s number for more than 20 years. I look forward to the day we all meet again in person to share stories and a warm embrace after so long apart. Yours in service, Mary Flynn Steele OGR CHANGING ITS DUES SCHEDULE OGR leadership has decided to change the association's membership year to match the calendar year. We have long operated on a July 1 - June 30 calendar, but starting in 2022, that will become Jan. 1 - Dec. 31. To make this transition happen, OGR has issued new invoices to cover the six-month gap between our current member year and the new calendar-year system taking effect. In all, your OGR invoice history will look like this: • July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021: already paid • July 1, 2021 - Dec. 31, 2021: new invoice issued in November 2020, due no later than July 1, 2021 • Jan. 1, 2022 - Dec. 31, 2022: will be invoiced in October 2021, due Jan. 1, 2022 www.ogr.org | The Independent® 5 MEMBERSHIP DUES LEVELS ARE NOT CHANGING. If you pay in installments, nothing will change; you will continue paying the same amount on the same schedule as you have been. Members whose dues are paid annually will pay a one-time prorated invoice to match the shorter time frame. We know transitions like this aren't always easy, so OGR's staff is standing by to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us at info@ogr.org or (800) 637-8030 and we will be happy to help in any way we can.

Golden Circle Celebration An evening to honor the excellent work done by Golden Rule Funeral Homes This one-hour virtual event will include awards presentations, our annual Service of Remembrance, a celebration of milestone anniversaries, the OGR Foundation’s scholarship awards, board of directors and officer installations, and the annual business meeting. OGR.org/Celebrate April 29 at 8 p.m. EDT

2021 Award Finalists LIGHT AWARD Honoring Professional Excellence CHARLES CASTIGLIA Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home Hamburg, New York GERI OLIVERIE Oliverie Funeral Home Manchester Township, New Jersey Golden Ruleule Community Service Award Brunswick Funeral Home East Brunswick, New Jersey Veterans Funeral Care Clearwater, Florida FAMILY CONTACT Exemplary ServiceAWARDS Anderson Funeral & Cremation Belvidere, Illinois Askew-Houser Funeral Home Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania Brunswick Memorial Home East Brunswick, New Jersey Chambers & Grubbs Independence, Kentucky Freitag Funeral Home Bridgeton, New Jersey Harrod Brothers Funeral Home Frankfort, Kentucky Heafey-Hoffman-Dworak-Cutler Omaha, Nebraska Jakubs-Waite Funeral Home Eastlake, Ohio Kolssak Funeral Home, Ltd. Wheeling, Illinois Montgomery & Steward Funeral Directors, Inc. Pueblo, California Owens Livingston Mortuary Show Low, Arizona Plummer Funeral Services Litchfield, Illinois Russell Colonial Funeral Home Saint Clair, Missouri R.W. Walker Funeral Home Plattsburgh, New York Schoppenhorst, Underwood & Brooks Funeral Home, Inc. Shepherdsville, Kentucky Shaughnessey-Banks Funeral Home, LLC Fairfield, Connecticut Singleton Funeral & Cremation Glen Burnie, Maryland Stewart Family Funeral Home Tyler, Texas Strunk Funeral Homes Vero Beach, Florida Thomas Funeral Home, PA Cambridge, Maryland Wenner Funeral Home Cold Spring, Minnesota Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home Decatur, Indiana MARY STRUNK KOPCHAK Strunk Funeral Homes Vero Beach, Florida

Member Spotlight Doctors, nurses, and other frontline health care workers are deservedly hailed as heroes for their dedication and courage in treating patients with COVID-19. But behind the scenes, another set of professionals is addressing the toll of the pandemic in an equally important but dignity. A new collaborative project led by the Prevention Research Center (PRC) based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health aims to shine a light on the important contributions and extraordinary challenges of these professionals. “Fatalities management workers— funeral home practitioners, medical examiners, pathologists, crematory operators, morgue attendants, autopsy assistants, and others in these fields— have really become the invisible face of COVID-19. Their stories, struggles, dedication, work, and care have largely been ignored,” explains Rima Afifi, director of the PRC and professor of community and behavioral health. “We’re partnering 8 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 unacknowledged way. These “last responders” are the workers who ensure that people who die from the novel coronavirus are laid to rest with with fatalities management workers to understand their stressors, coping mechanisms, and their well-being in relation to COVID-19.” The PRC is working with professional organizations and associations to conduct a national survey of last responders to better understand the consequences of the pandemic on their mental and physical health. “To our knowledge, this is the first national survey of its kind,” Afifi says. “We think it’s critically important to be able to develop effective responses that support them in their amazing work.” The research team is planning to follow up the survey with in-depth interviews. “This will enable us to truly understand the lived experiences of fatalities OGR members participated in the research this article is based on, and Member Resources Director Nancy Weil serves on their advisory board. Follow their latest findings on our blog at OGR.org.

Shining a Light on Last Responders by Debra Venzke, University of Iowa management workers during COVID-19 and to provide space for them to share their stories—what happened, what the challenges were, what made them despair or gave them hope,” Afifi says. Caretakers and Crises The idea for the project originated with Peter Teahen, a funeral director and funeral home owner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He reached out to the college with the concern that the role and welfare of fatalities management workers in the pandemic were being overlooked. Teahen’s training and background includes 31 years in disaster services and mental health crisis management. In 1989, he served as one of the coordinators of mortuary affairs at the United Airlines Flight 232 crash site in Sioux City. Since then, he has served in leadership roles in more than 70 major disasters around the world, including the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11 in New York, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He has served as a national spokesperson for the American Red Cross since 1999. Although Teahen sees many similarities between the pandemic and other crises, he notes that there are a number of unique challenges and stressors with COVID-19. “One of the more serious parts of this is the unknown,” Teahen says, referring to the still evolving understanding of the virus. “COVID doesn’t die with the patient. All the staff dealing with the deceased are just as susceptible to getting COVID as if they were in the hospital environment.” Just like first responders and frontline health care workers, last responders are willing to take risks to care for others in their professional role, Teahen says. “We also have to live with the nightmare that we’re going to bring COVID home to our families. There’s never been something of this global magnitude threatening and killing the caregivers.” In fact, Teahen tested positive for COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. “I believe it was because of one of the cases I dealt with. I’ve handled multiple COVID deaths,” he says. “I nagged my staff and my family about all the safety precautions. And regardless of how safe www.ogr.org | The Independent® 9

COVID-19 we were and what we did to be safe, I still became a COVID victim. And that’s what is frightening.” Managing Grief and Mental Health Another stressor is how dramatically the pandemic has altered the grieving process. “We’re not able to do the things we normally do. In my role as funeral director, we’re used to having families gather together to celebrate the person’s life. We’ve had to tell people they can’t have a funeral. We’re trying to give comfort and care to a family that is being torn apart from all their cultural and traditional values of caring for the dead, and that’s impactful.” The sheer number of deaths in some areas of the country has overwhelmed funeral homes and related services, causing workers exhaustion and distress. This level of intense stress has both short- and long-term impacts on mental health. “We know from experience of other disasters that dealing with increased anxiety, separation from families, and all the unknowns, it creates an increase in domestic abuse, substance abuse, and divorce rates,” Teahen says. “A lot of times people don’t know how to Your Real Source. Anywhere. Anytime. cope that stress.” The mental health impact of a disaster doesn’t go away within weeks or months. “When we look at the psychological impact of disasters on responders, we typically see that the height of the impact is usually seven years after the event,” Teahen says. “I think that catches people off guard. 10 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 Debra Venzke is a communications specialist with the University of Iowa College of Public Health. She writes about the wide range of public health research, education, and service conducted by the college. with When you ask, “When is the peak of suicide following a catastrophic event?,” a lot of people say six weeks, six months, maybe the one-year anniversary, where the number is truly closer to seven years.” Part of the reason for that lag is because at the beginning of a crisis, emotional support for responders is readily offered by friends, families, and organizations. But as time goes on, those supports and programs fade, leaving people to cope on their own. They may turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with the emotional impact of what they’ve experienced, Teahen says. “And it becomes a vicious cycle. As that goes on over time—as people get more isolated and services are reduced—they become more and more desperate,” he says. Offering Support A number of barriers prevent last responders from reaching out for help, including the stigma around mental health. An even bigger barrier may be the very nature of their jobs. “Nobody wants to talk to a funeral director, nobody wants to talk about death and dying or the work of a coroner or medical examiner,” Teahen says. “It’s such a taboo subject, death and dying and the dead.” Teahen hopes that the survey and stories shared through the interviews will give these workers a voice, recognition, and support. “I hope that we can find some common threads through these different professional groups, find out what their stressors were and what got them through their darkest days,” he says. He envisions creating support programs “that last more than just six months and that are there when they need them in seven or ten years.” This story originally appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of the University of Iowa’s InSight magazine. Republished with permission of the author. Find exactly what you’re looking for!

The funeral home of the future, may not be a funeral home at all. if you would like to be a part of the future... CONTACT andrew@heartlandcremation.com or jim@cremationconsulting.com www.CremationConsulting.com www.ogr.org | The Independent® 11

Veterans Education How to Become the Go-to Funeral Home for Veterans By Nancy Weil, OGR Member Resources Director SESSION 1: Serving Veterans and Their Families SESSION 2: Engaging the Veteran Market Do you know how to establish your funeral home as the definitive choice for veterans in your area? Participate in either or both workshops put on by Veterans Funeral Care and OGR to learn how to connect with the veteran community and become the go-to funeral home for their families. Noted veteran’s funeral expert and OGR member Jim Rudolph of Veterans Funeral Care will explain how understanding ranking, military culture and other demographics will equip you and your staff to serve veterans better than your competitors. June 8 June 9 3PM - 5PM EDT 3PM - 5PM EDT I attended a ‘How to Serve Veterans’ workshop with Jim Rudolph. The funeral home I work at specializes in helping veterans, but I never knew how much I didn’t know! ~Melissa Dawson, Indiana Funeral Care “Graduates of these workshops will learn how to become the funeral home that all their local veterans use,” Rudolph said. “By the end of the series, you will learn how to ‘speak veteran’.” He further noted that, “If all it took was to put up an American flag every 12 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 Marine Corps League meeting at Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, Fla. (VFC Photo / Jim Rudolph) morning, the job would be done. That flag is the starting point; we are going to go way, way beyond that during these presentations.” The first session, Serving Veterans and Their Families, covers the knowledge you and your staff need to facilitate a veteran’s funeral. From pre-planning steps to take, to the paperwork that needs to be filed after the funeral is held, this workshop covers it all. You’ll receive a military ranks cheat sheet so you can speak “military lingo” and learn how to read and decode DD-214 paperwork like an expert. If you think you know how to do these things, think again. Jim has a unique viewpoint and process that will allow you to raise the bar when it comes to serving veterans.

Education Veterans In the second session, Engaging the Veteran Market, Rudolph explores how tribal marketing is essential to reaching veterans. Establishing trust and building a relationship with both the organizations that work with veterans (VA, American Legion, VFC, etc.) and the veterans themselves is the key to success. However, this must be done with an authentic desire to serve veterans or you will lose their business quickly. This workshop covers specific examples of the types of programs that work with veterans. You will also learn strategies to making your funeral home and website more “veteran” than the standard template. By the end of this training, you’ll walk away with highly effective tools to honor and connect with veterans. As a graduate of these workshops, you will learn the secret of how to make sure your funeral home staff can state that, “No one in our area can be more VETERAN than WE are.” • OGR Members: $125 for one session, $199 for both ($51 savings) • OGR Members that are also VFC Licensed Funeral Homes: FREE as long as you register by July 5 (recordings are available for free for one month after live event) Members who attend both workshops may be eligible to join the Veterans Funeral Care Provider Network. For a fee, these licensed providers can use the Veterans Funeral Care logo, receive marketing materials, attend a yearly providers Think Tank and take part in VFC’s proprietary programs “Retire Your Flag with Honor” and “Operation Toy Soldier.” OGR members receive a 15% discount off the annual licensing fee. Serving as OGR’s member resources director, Grief Support program facilitator and supply partner liaison, Nancy brings her years of experience working in the funeral industry to our members. A national speaker and trainer with certifications as a Grief Services Provider, Funeral Celebrant, Soul Injury Ambassador and Laughter Leader, Nancy is uniquely qualified to bring new perspectives into how to best meet the needs of the families you serve. You can reach Nancy at (512) 334-5504, ext. 304 or NWeil@OGR.org Support the next generation of funeral directors by donating to the OGR Foundation! OGR.org/Foundation Jim Rudolph of Veterans Funeral Care was invited to speak at the centennial birthday celebration of Lt. Col. William “Bill” Poulos, USAF (Ret.) on Sept. 9, 2017. (OGR Photo / Nancy Weil) Registration will open soon at OGR.org/Education. For more information, call Nancy Weil at (512) 334-5504, ext. 304, or email her at NWeil@OGR.org. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 13

Quality Matters. Every fully-cast Thumbies®, Buddies Pet Keepsake®, and Phoenix Collection® keepsake starts out as the finest available raw materials, not imported mass-produced blank metal slugs. Since 1998, our US-based artisans have merged creativity and science to turn those materials into keepsakes so rich in detail, simply touching one fills the wearer with feelings of comfort and connection. Help your families celebrate the lives of their loved ones with keepsakes they’ll cherish forever. Heartwarming new memorial keepsakes Thumbuddies® To become a Thumbies® Partner, contact sales@thumbies.com. 14 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 thumbies.com EXCLUSIVE

GREAT AND GOOD BETWEEN by Mark Janik, Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home By now, everyone has been put to the test with the ever-changing rules, regulations and restrictions that the COVID pandemic has imposed, not only on the funeral profession as a whole but on each individual who serves families who have lost a loved one. We have had to adapt and pivot to ensure that families receive the level of excellence in service our OGR firms are known by. Additionally, we have had staff overworked and yet must still struggle to meet our expenses in a climate of reduced services and restrictions. However, if ever there was an opportunity to show the finest example of exemplary service to families and the philosophy of the Golden Rule, it has been now. Good to Great Funeral directors and our businesses are often judged by only the time that families see us in public. They see high-quality vehicles, suitable business attire and a calm, professional demeanor. But that is something any good funeral home and directors should possess. What makes a great funeral service is not any of those things. It is merely the tip of the iceberg. What they do not see is the focus on making sure there is a plan for each service and for the staff. A proactive mindset through constantly learning and adjusting. By going the extra mile regardless of how simple or complex the requirements are for each individual family’s needs. That we have done our homework in complying with the shifting quicksand of changing restrictions. So, what is the difference between good and great? ‘How’ vs. ‘Why’ Many have attempted to explain that great service is a set of rules. axioms or some magical method when it comes to delivering that service. They use words like reliable, appropriate, personalized, memorable, remarkable and so on to describe their process. The problem is that they all focus on the way good service is delivered. But that is only the “how” of it. It misses the point of great service excellence (and the true point of service in general). www.ogr.org | The Independent® 15

Customer Service Good service only meets the customer’s needs and expectations. Great service is when these experiences are exceeded and the customer feels that they have received that unexpected special extra. Sometimes that unexpected extra can come in different shapes and ways such as a smile, a positive remark, random acts of kindness and compassion or something done by the additional effort of a service professional going the extra mile. That is the “why” of it! A Little Something Extra It is the extra spark or element that touches a chord and reverberates with the families we serve. It is not formulaic but rather unique to each family. Knowing how to spot it is the difference between good and great. It is truly the Golden Rule in action. By asking the question constantly to ourselves of “the why,” we will be able to discover what that something extra is. That is accomplished by listening to learn. “People come to us initially for our experience; they come back because of theirs.” As professionals, it is our role to actively listen so that we can identify a trigger that will facilitate a positive feeling experience, a treasured memory or a warmand-fuzzy thought of a family’s time with the person they lost. We have to listen and have to pay attention to families to what their stories are and how they describe their loved one because that’s how they want to remember them. They do not know that is what they’re saying; we have to bring that out for them by asking compassionate questions and building strong relationships, not merely superficial rapport. In other words, it is more than just taking their order for a funeral service. ‘Whatever You Do, Do it Well’ By asking ourselves, “How do we make things better for those we serve?” and acting on those answers, the results lead to creating real connections. By making the whole experience feel more human and giving families what they need to create superior customer experiences we render great service. 16 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 Walt Disney once said, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” People come to us initially for our experience; they come back because of theirs. Give customers a special experience through great service, that something extra, then they will be loyal advocates and share their experience with friends. Stand Out from the Crowd If it were easy then everyone else would be doing it, too, which would make it more difficult for us to give great service - service that stands out, service that people would go out of their way to find. Because that level of service will dissuade all the people who are not as dedicated as you or I are. It is, after all, what sets our firms and directors apart. Our cornerstone philosophy is “Service measured not by gold, but by the Golden Rule” (to do unto others as you would have them do unto you). Be dedicated to that exceptional philosophy by delivering the extra human touch. That is what makes us different; that is what makes good become great! Best wishes for a safe and successful year! Mark Janik is a Life Story Guardian and Licensed Funeral Director at OGR member firm Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home in West Seneca, N.Y. He is a Certified Funeral Service Professional, NFDA Certified Pre-Planning Consultant and a Certified Funeral Celebrant. His commitment and mission are to compassionately and carefully discover the life story of those who are in our care. You can email him at mark@lakesidefuneralhome.com, or call (716) 627-2919. Mark Janik is an OGR member. Any member may submit content for publication consideration, free of charge. Reach out to Evan Hoffmeyer at EHoffmeyer@OGR.org for details.

OGR News OGR News OGR is ‘Zooming’ in to Train Your Staff: Conquering the Conversation By Nancy Weil, OGR Member Resources Director This training began as part of OGR’s price shopping program but has since grown beyond the phone call. Designed for your entire staff to attend, this 2-hour interactive course covers possible conversations that may take place on the phone, with visitors to your funeral home or in the grocery store! Make sure your staff: • can confidently handle any conversation about your funeral home; • understands your unique value and how to properly represent what makes your funeral home stand out from your competition; • never says any of the outrageous things we’ve heard during a price shopping call (but we’ll share them with you during the training!); • converts the price shopper into a client. Using actual transcripts from price shopping calls, your staff will learn what the consumer may be hearing when speaking with other funeral homes. We cover the good, the bad and the truly shocking. “Nancy inspired each member of our staff to confidently handle not only price shopping calls, but to represent the best of funeral service in their everyday lives,” Tyler Pray of Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, Mich., said about the training. Cathie Tattrie and fellow staff members participate in OGR ‘Conquering the Conversation’ staff training at Smith Funeral & Memorial Services in Warren, Rhode Island, on Oct. 23, 2019. (OGR Photo / Nancy Weil) Book your staff training today with a special introductory price of only $500. Each training is tailored to meet the needs of your funeral home. • knows your key talking points when sharing information; and Contact Nancy Weil at NWeil@OGR.org or 512-3345504 ext. 304 to select a date or to learn more about this program. OGR offers price shopping services at four tiers ranging from a single call and email to a full analysis paired with training for your employees. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 17

The COVID-19 Lesson For Funeral Directors: BE PREPARED! by Timothy Collison, CFSP The Dodge Company W hen the world began tipping upside down in February 2020, funeral service suppliers such as Dodge had previously experienced situations which bore a resemblance to what was eventually coming our way. During the period of 2002-2004, many of you will remember the SARS outbreak, primarily in Asia with North American cases largely being in Canada. The impact of SARS in the U.S. was seen primarily in a shortage of N95 masks and latex gloves. With a total of 27 deaths in the U.S. being attributed to SARS, the clamor for these PPEs quickly quieted down. In 2014, an outbreak of Ebola was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), and four confirmed cases were found in the U.S. A total of 11 cases in the U.S. were reported by the end of the outbreak. Again, suppliers experienced a rapid increase of orders for PPE and a shortage of body pouches as people prepared for the worst. In both the SARS and Ebola situations, suppliers were left with large inventories which eventually were either purchased or disposed of, due to shelf-life expiration. Supply Chain After it became clear last spring that COVID-19 was 18 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 becoming a pandemic, the buying frenzy began, and shortages began to appear. The demand for disinfectants grew exponentially as the general public responded to the high infection rate present with COVID-19, resulting in many of the major manufacturers not being able to keep up with demand. Anything with a label containing the term “anti-bacterial” swiftly left the shelves, and funeral service was no exception. Demand for disinfectant registered with the Environmental Protection Agency sky-rocketed, and Dodge was left to make the decision whether to attempt to supply more of our customers with products by limiting orders, or fulfill some of the massive orders we were receiving by large customers. Even when we did decide to place limitations on quantities, our inventory was quickly depleted of disinfectants we purchased from outside vendors. Fortunately, we were able to reformulate one of our Dodge-manufactured products to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) threshold for disinfection, and ramped-up our production. Personal Protective Equipment, however, was another problem. N95 health care respirators are manufactured to a high specification standard and were the only health care respirator endorsed by the CDC. As the inventory for N95 was depleted worldwide, other masks were marketed as being “just as good,” including

the KN95 mask. What soon became apparent was that the counterfeiting of KN95 masks was widespread, and it was difficult to near-impossible for companies such as Dodge to do the due diligence required to determine if the masks would be effective. Because of this, many suppliers in both the medical and mortuary supply field chose not to handle them. We soon found out that many KN95 masks that had been sold were counterfeit and not as effective. Stuck on the Water Other issues with PPE arose as many of the major PPE manufacturers are located in Asia. First, production slowed dramatically as these countries battled their own COVID-19 crises and held back product from being exported to ensure supplies were available for themselves. After their outbreaks began to decrease, production of PPE began at full speed again, however the backlog of orders was immense. At this point, I would like to explain how ordering from a manufacturer works for a company such as Dodge that distributes these products. Especially with products that are manufactured overseas, the ordering process is complicated since transportation of the product is almost exclusively by ship. The time from the order being placed on a container ship and it arriving in the U.S. is termed “time on the water.” As most companies do, Dodge uses forecasting to determine when to order a product, and how much. “How much” is determined by the history of the product sales; “when” is determined by how long it takes for the product to arrive at our warehouses. Many of the orders Dodge makes to overseas manufacturers are done six months in advance. To say that the pandemic disrupted our forecasting would be putting it mildly. To compound the issue, as soon as companies determined the severity of the pandemic and the demand it was creating, shipping from manufacturers became even more delayed as the manufacturers dealt with the need for increased productivity. The result of all these factors was that our normal lead time to estimate delivery of products lengthened significantly from the normal 8 weeks, to 12 weeks on the water. The Takeaway The good news is that supply chains have cleared up quite a bit since late spring and the summer. Demand for pandemic-related products has dropped, and we have been able to clear almost all back-ordered products. Some manufacturers are still running at full capacity and continue to limit shipments to distributors such as Dodge. Fortunately for Dodge, we control www.ogr.org | The Independent® 19

COVID-19 our manufacturing, and never had a shortage of any embalming chemicals. We increased production of our primary disinfectant spray, and between increased production and some limits on quantities being ordered at one time, have been able to keep our customers supplied. So, what is the takeaway from this pandemic for funeral service? In a nutshell, I would say the Boy Scout motto is accurate: “Be prepared.” When you determine what your inventory should be for your preparation room supplies, hope for the best but anticipate the worst. I am sure many of us now keep a little more toilet paper, waterless disinfectant and antibacterial soap at our houses. I know I do. I would recommend you look back at 2020 and see what your supply needs were. Determine how much PPE, disinfectant and embalming chemicals you would use in 6 months, and make sure you keep that amount always on-hand. There is no practical way to expedite deliveries from overseas where most PPE are manufactured. The ships can only sail so fast, and companies such as Dodge can only store a certain amount of inventory due to the size of our warehouses. To avoid shortages in the future, having supplies that will carry you through several months would be the best failsafe measure you can take. What we do not want to do is ignore the recent history of SARS, Ebola and COVID-19, and make ourselves vulnerable to another situation such as this when it occurs. Dodge is currently determining how we can react more nimbly to whatever our next major world event is. We are doing what we need to do to “be prepared.” Tim Collison, CFSP, is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Michigan. He graduated from Wayne State University’s Department of Mortuary Science. Tim is now chief operating officer and vice president of sales and marketing for The Dodge Company. He is also a member of the company’s research and development program. Tim has been a regular presenter at The Dodge Institute Seminars and clinics, and a contributing editor to The Dodge Magazine on the topics of mortuary cosmetology and restorative arts. Tim has been a presenter and lecturer to groups of funeral service professionals for over 30 years. The Dodge Company is proud to be an OGR Endorsed Supplier, and supports the membership with contributions toward OGR’s continuing education programs. Members are also able to get a 25% freight discount on eligible product purchases over $250, and a 50% freight discount on elibible product purchases of $500. OGR’s ne rofe OGR.org/Learning-Library on-demand to fit your schedule to f e el your NOW OPEN 20 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 ewo ine LEARNING LIBRAR Professional deelopment webina webi rs

A Dodge Difference While ‘doing business’ in today’s world increasingly involves e-commerce, social media and electronic communication, your Dodge representative still comes to you. Real solutions, real people, real friends. shop.dodgeco.com

YP Spotlight YP Spotlight Young Professional Spotlight: Hannah Rathman Hannah Rathman is a licensed funeral director and embalmer at Heartland Cremation & Burial Society in Raytown, Missouri. How many years have you worked in funeral service? I have worked in funeral service for almost three years. I was a practicum student at Heartland while in mortuary school and then was employed at Heartland full time. What are your professional goals? I want to continue to learn how to serve people well, and I would love to own or manage a funeral home. I hope to continue to gain wisdom and connections. What are you proud of that you have achieved so far during your career in funeral service? I feel like I have found my calling....I get to make a difference in someone’s life every single day. Why did you begin working in funeral service? I knew no matter what I did with my life, I wanted to serve and care for others. During college, I evaluated what I enjoyed doing and it boiled down to science, business and caring for people. Being in the funeral service industry is just that: You are able to care for people well in one of the worst seasons of their life. What is the most rewarding part of your occupation? Being able to ease a burden of the living and pay tribute to those who have passed. It is an honor to walk with people during this difficult time and it reminds me how precious life is. Hannah Rathman (provided photo) 22 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 I am proud of my work ethic and that I feel like I have found my calling. I have learned so much in these three years. I came from knowing nothing about this profession to serving hundreds of families. I love that I get to make a difference in someone’s life every single day. What are some important/ notable trends that you have noticed in funeral service? The ability to memorialize the dead in many different ways. Throughout

YP Spotlight YP Spotlight the pandemic, many families were not able to have a service around the date of passing but were pushed to memorialize their loved one in new ways or postpone services. I think this trend will continue from now on. A lot of families I serve decide not to have a traditional service but decide to memorialize their loved one by doing an activity they enjoyed, meeting at their favorite restaurant, reminiscing or even having a BBQ at a park. How do you spend your time outside of work? Is there anything in particular that you enjoy doing? I enjoy reading, going on walks, baking and hanging out with friends. I am active in my church and love serving in the children’s ministry. When the weather is nice, I really enjoy walking trails and being out in nature. What are three of your personal goals? I want to get married, have a family and possibly adopt, and serve in local missions. Who or what inspires you? My faith inspires me. It pushes me to care for people well, work hard and be able to recharge. What is your favorite phone app? My favorite phone app right now would probably be TikTok. It is a fun app to unwind, learn and have fun. What is one thing your peers would be surprised to know about you? I think my peers view me as more of a timid person and would be surprised by my ability to take on important responsibilities and leadership. What is one thing that you think is just “golden,” wonderful or exciting? It is “golden” when I get to spend time at a coffee shop and when there is a chain of people paying for other’s drinks/food. What do you value most about OGR? I love that OGR stands for respecting families and loved ones who have passed. OGR respects families www.ogr.org | The Independent® 23 Hannah Rathman (provided photo) by holding ourselves to a high standard, being truthful and helpful to anyone in need. OGR also respects loved ones who have passed by having dignity when caring for the human body and by memorializing them by their wishes. The organization as a whole tries to ‘follow the Golden Rule.’ What other words do you try to live by? The mantra I live by is that “I get to” not “I have to.” This helps me live in a state of gratitude and humbly serve those around me.

Tell Your Funeral Home’s Story By Jack Helm, Skyways Media Whether your funeral home is a family operation passed down through the generations, or you are a new owner writing the first chapter of your own funeral home’s story, or something in between, there is a story behind every independent funeral home. Families who came through your doors aren’t just shopping for a product or service, they’re looking for someone who will understand and honor their loved one’s story. Incorporating a piece of your own story alongside the nitty gritty of estate settlement tips and floral arrangements is another way of demonstrating that you take their loved one’s final wishes as seriously as they do. All-in-One Resource Planning guides personalized to your funeral home are a great way to pull these pieces together all in one easy takeaway resource, whether you’re working with a pre-planning senior, at-need family or attendees at a public event, such as a senior fair or community lunch and learn. Just hand it to them as you wrap up your conversation and let them walk away with all the points you want them to remember as they make their decisions. 24 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 You can even give copies to area businesses you have relationships with, for them to hand out to the customers they serve. If they’re in it, they are going to want to share it, and your message gets out to a wider audience than you could ever reach alone. Many OGR members have already taken advantage of this powerful marketing tool by having a planning guide created for their funeral home. Walk in their door and you will likely see a stack sitting on a table by the entrance or in the arrangement room. Too Important to Say ‘No’ If you don’t have a planning guide yet, what is your reason? • I don’t have the time to put one together. By working with a company that offers planning guides, such as OGR Endorsed Supplier Skyways Media, you have access to a templated guide that already contains all the essential articles. All you have to do is add in your funeral home’s personal details and they do the rest. • I don’t want some generic looking piece. A planning guide can be as customized as you want. Have

Memorialization Memorialization a special program that your funeral home runs or a unique feature in your building? Add it to your guide. Want photos of your actual funeral home and staff? Put them in. Want to share what you do for the veterans you serve? Just submit it with your order. Have a comfort dog on staff? Feature your furry four-legged “therapist.” • I don’t have time to sell ads to offset the cost of the guide. You don’t have to! As a benefit of membership, Skyways offers all OGR members a completely personalized planning guide – completely free of charge. They do this by selling the ads for you. They can even set up sales appointments at your funeral home so an area business you want to improve your relationship with won’t just agree to buy an ad, but will actually come to your location, tour the facility, meet your staff and leave with an understanding of how you operate your funeral home and what you offer to those you serve. Of course, if you already have relationships with business owners in your area, make a list of them from florists and caterers to attorneys, CPAs, wealth managers and realtors. Think of companies or professionals that work with the seniors in your area. Skyways will then create the vendors’ ads, if needed, and add them to your planning guide without you ever needing to lift a finger. • I don’t know what to do with it once I have it. Every family your staff meets with should leave their appointment with a planning guide in hand. At least one page should be marked for them to reference so that it becomes a welcome resource whether for pre-need planning or at-need arrangements. Place them around your funeral home, have some in your car to hand out, think of these planning guides as a “giant business card.” Wherever you would have your card, have these available as well. A look at the inside of a real planning guide Skyways Media created for OGR member firm Martin’s Funeral Homes in Michigan. (photo provided) • I have enough paper in my office already. I don’t need more. Then go electronic and create your guide in a mobile friendly app that can be accessed virtually. Bookmark it on your laptops, tablets and phones so that you can show off your funeral home no matter where you are or who you are meeting with. Your families can also share the link with other family members who live out of the area. Marketing that Evolves with You I’d urge any funeral home to utilize this great product as it will indeed set your funeral home apart from the competition. ~Adam M. Martin, Martin’s Funeral Homes OGR past president A planning guide can become one of your most used resources. One of the best advantages is that it’s not just a “once and done” static piece. Each year, your funeral home can get a new batch of guides to pass out in whatever way works best for you. Before you get your new printing run, take a moment to review its content and determine if it is still timely and telling the story you want to share. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 25

Memorialization Memorialization By working with a well-established company that focuses on the funeral profession, you are guaranteed to be guided through each step of your new planning guide’s creation. Your time commitment does not need to be burdensome, in fact by turning over the project to a specialist you can provide the details they need and let them do the rest. Skyways Media is a family-owned business with offices in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and United States. Skyways is an OGR Endorsed Supplier for advertising and marketing, supplying printed guides, apps, e-books and websites within the funeral, assisted living and hospice sectors. Contact Harry Hobson at harry@skyways-media.com or (646) 810-5748 with any questions. Skyways Media is an OGR Endorsed Supplier. They offer planning guides individualized for your funeral home operation – for free – to all OGR members. Learn more at OGR.org/Skyways-Media. FOUNDATION Thank you to our generous donors from the past quarter GOLD LEVEL ($1,000 or more) Anita M. Greene given in memory of Cliff Greene Livingston-Butler-Volland Funeral & Cremation Center Hastings, Nebraska Pollock-Randall Funeral Home Port Huron, Michigan Chris Miller Thomas Miller Mortuary Corona, California given in honor of “my essential staff for 2020” Bill & Linda Brock Vander Plaat Funeral Home Wyckoff, New Jersey given in memory of Clarice Dansen 26 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 BRONZE LEVEL (up to $499) Jay & Mary Steele Arnett & Steele Funeral Home Pineville, Kentucky Don Byles Byles-MacDougall Funeral Service New London, Connecticut Sara J. Cross given in memory of Leland B. Cross, Jr. Kim Hunter Humphrey Funeral Home Toronto, Ontario Ben Underwood Schoppenhorst Underwood & Brooks Funeral Home Shepherdsville, Kentucky Chris Stewart Stewart Family Funeral Home Tyler, Texas given in memory of Johnnie M. Stewart Jamie Wieting Wieting Family Funeral Home Chilton, Wisconsin Make your tax-deductible donation at OGR.org/Foundation

WOULD YOUR FUNERAL HOME BENEFIT FROM 1000 HIGH QUALITY INFORMATION GUIDES - EVERY YEAR - AT NO COST!? CUSTOM DESIGN & TAILORED CONTENT INC. PRE-PLANNING We work very closely with you to ensure we individually design guides that perfectly represent every funeral home we work with, your values and your individual needs. INCLUDE YOUR OWN UNIQUE SERVICES, STAFF BIOS, FORMS, IMAGES, MAPS & MORE Our guides are uniquely designed for your funeral home, incorporating your logo, branding, images, location maps, key personnel photos and staff profiles/bios within each guide. USED & APPROVED BY OGR MEMBERS - AT ZERO COST! Skyways Media have successfully produced planning guides for many OGR members. These high quality, rich, full color glossy printed guides were supplied at zero cost and they have been extremely satisfied with them! PROVIDE YOUR LOCAL FAMILIES WITH THE LATEST COVID-19 INFORMATION & PROCESSES LET’S TALK! USA West: 1-702-329-6677 USA East: 1-646-810-5748 www.skyways-media.com SKYWAYS M E D I A

Member Spotlight Member Spotlight Spotlight on Nelson Bros. Funeral Services – Port Melbourne, Australia Adrian Nelson is the CEO of Nelson Bros. Funeral Services in Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He shared his experiences with running a successful funeral home that has been around since the 1850s. How was your funeral home founded, and how does it operate today? Our family business started in the 1850s in a small mining town during the Victorian gold rush by my great-great grandfather. He ran a general store and was a cabinet maker, and thus also a coffin maker. Over 160 years later, we have grown to a thriving business with five funeral homes across the city of Melbourne, which has a population of over 5 million. families. The gratitude and thanks we receive from them is a wonderful reward. What makes your funeral home unique? An obvious distinction of our funeral home is our fleet of black Rolls Royce hearses and coaches. We have the only Rolls Royce funeral fleet in Australia. Over time, whilst other funeral companies have moved away from tradition, we have embraced it, whilst at the same time celebrating and creating new traditions with families. Traditions and ceremony are integral to everything we do, and it is a joy to adapt them to be relevant to the families we serve. Nelson Bros. Funeral Services’ original location in Linton, Victoria, Australia (photo provided) Why do you believe funeral service is important? It helps people at their most difficult time. We continue to see the positive impact and importance of rituals and ceremony in helping families with their grief. What is the most rewarding part of working in funeral service? Witnessing first-hand the difference we make to 28 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 Nelson Bros. Funeral Services has a fleet of Rolls Royce hearses and coaches. (photo provided)

Member Spotlight Member Spotlight What does your funeral home do in order to create a strong community presence? Do you believe that this is important? Staying connected with our communities is important to us and has been for generations. It is increasingly difficult in a large city with changing demographics to keep those connections. We support a range of sporting and community groups, and I am a past president and board member of our Rotary Club District. In what ways do you use technology to further the services you offer? We embrace technology where it is beneficial and enhances our services, not just for the sake of using technology. While we have filmed all funerals at our funeral homes for decades, this past year we pivoted and all funerals are live-streamed for families who want it, at any location, including churches and cemeteries. Since COVID, we have seen traffic to our website increase tenfold, predominantly to our Tribute Walls for each funeral to post comments, photos or watch the webcast. With multiple locations and a centralized operations center, we have Wi-Fi across all sites, use SRS as our comprehensive operational software, Microsoft Teams to connect with staff in the office or on the road, and a thorough company intranet using Sharepoint. What growing trends have you noticed in the funeral service profession? How do you keep up with these changes? As a 160-year-old business, we have learned to adapt to many changes and trends over many decades, such as the transition from horse-drawn hearses to motorised vehicles, and the introduction of telephones. The growing changes are cultural ones. Over generations, the many traditions of our migrant nation are diluted and different cultures inter-marry and become entwined. At the same time, people have steadily moved away from organized religion, ceremony and rituals. Where previously funeral directors and families would simply follow the guidelines of priests, today each funeral is personalized and adapted to best reflect the life of the person who has died. Focusing on personalization makes funerals relevant, whether simply by music or an audio-visual presentation, or by use of color, funeral location, food or physical mementos. A recent funeral we conducted in an aircraft hanger in front of a restored WWII plane is a vivid example of how the funeral was strongly relevant for the family. Nelson’s staff works closely with families to ensure services reflect the life of the person who has died, like this biker funeral at their Williamstown location. (photo provided) What do you value most about OGR? Why did you become a member? The Nelson family have been members of OGR for over 30 years. I remember hosting a symposium of OGR members here in Melbourne, Australia in the early 1990s. We joined because it gave us insight and inspiration to better operate our family business. Sharing ideas and stories with like-minded friends from around the world helps improve everything we do. Over the past decade, we have been actively involved in establishing OGR’s inaugural Intercontinental Study Group. This group could now best be described as a group of friends who happen to work in the same profession in different corners of the world. We motivate, energize and stir each other, learning constantly how we can adapt ideas to our own unique environments. How has COVID-19 hit your nation, and how has your funeral home responded to meet the need? Comparatively, Australia has had low numbers of COVID-19 cases. However here in Melbourne, we faced (at the time) some of the world’s strictest restrictions and shutdowns, including strict home confinement for 112 days. In total, there have been 909 COVID-19 deaths in all of Australia since the pandemic began. Many other cities in the world have experienced this www.ogr.org | The Independent® 29

Member Spotlight Member Spotlight many in a single day. Our issues were never about being overwhelmed by the numbers (although we prepared for this), but more in dealing with grieving families under such strict lockdown conditions. It has been about managing mental health of families and our own team in such a restricted environment. What are three future goals that you have in mind for your funeral home? Long-term goals have been put on the backburner these last 12 months, as our changing world makes it hard to identify what will happen tomorrow, let alone next week, next year or next decade. For funeral businesses with physical funeral homes and premises, increasingly the competition is low-service and low-cost. Their cost structures and lack of capital expenditure is a completely different business model. Moving forward, we must continue to demonstrate value to the families we serve, and to ensure that the funerals are relevant. Otherwise the industry as we know it will disappear. Our future goals include: 1. ensuring we have locations that are attractive and can provide that services that will impress families; 2. continuing to train and retain the best possible funeral team to deliver the high level of service required; and 3. future-proofing our business so we can provide the level of service expected in-person via technology and remotely. Adrian is chief executive officer of Nelson Bros. Funeral Services. Prior to joining the family business over 20 years ago, he was a lawyer and international management consultant. He is married to Louise and has two teenage sons, Harry and Charles. Adrian is a passionate Western Bulldogs supporter in the Australian Football League. Visit nelsonbros.com.au for more. Bridge To The Next Generation In Your Families Every death leaves an estate to be settled. The executor is your connection to the next generation of the family, and Closing Affairs is the bridge to make that connection. Closing Affairs has been a leading executor tool kit for over twenty years, and it is now available in a printed U.S. edition. • Agendas/Schedules • Step-by-step guide • Form letters for Government/Business entities • Access to more resources on ClosingAffairs.com So Many Opportunities To Build Relationships You can use many of the features of Closing Affairs to maintain contact with the executor and provide assistance. For more information and introductory pricing, call 1-888-829-8362 or email info@inexinc.com 30 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021

Marketing Marketing 10-minute Talks: A New Way to Connect with a Valuable Referral Source By Nancy Weil, OGR Member Resources Director Included with your OGR membership Now more than ever, healthcare professionals, first responders and caregivers need some support from the daily stress that the pandemic has created in both their workplace and their personal lives. Show them how much you care by sharing these six “10-minute Talks: Coping During COVID-19” in order to give them a much-needed break. Each of these programs is designed to stand alone so they can pick and choose which they want to watch. • Step Away From Stress • A Moment for Mindfulness • 3 Emotional “Cousins”: Worry, Stress and Fear • Unsupported Grief and Loss • Faith as a Spiritual Journey • Pivot Toward the Positive This is an easy caregiver marketing program for your funeral home to offer - for free! • Sign-up at OGR. org/Marketing to get started. • OGR will send you a link to a private YouTube playlist that holds all six programs. • OPTIONAL: Make it personal by adding your funeral home’s branding at the beginning and end of each video. Do it yourself, or OGR can take care of this for a small fee. • E-mail the link along with an introductory note (template provided) to the caregivers you know. • Get ready for the thanks to roll in. These videos are funny and spontaneous, not ‘clinical.’ Hospice people (or caregivers in general) expect a commercial about the funeral home. This is just a cool conversation between colleagues. ~Jim Rudolph, Veterans Funeral Care / Cremation Consulting 32 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 Serving as OGR’s member resources director, Grief Support program facilitator and supply partner liaison, Nancy brings her years of experience working in the funeral industry to our members. A national speaker and trainer with certifications as a Grief Services Provider, Funeral Celebrant, Soul Injury Ambassador and Laughter Leader, Nancy is uniquely qualified to bring new perspectives into how to best meet the needs of the families you serve. You can reach Nancy at (512) 334-5504, ext. 304 or NWeil@OGR.org

Member News Member News News from Golden Rule Funeral Homes OGR welcomes 3 new members Menke Funeral & Cremation Center in suburban Phoenix, Arizona, joined on February 19. Menke is owned by Jake Johnson, who members may know from OGR supply partner Johnson Consulting Group, and managed by Kelly Browder. Willow Ridge Funeral and Cremation Services merged with existing OGR member firm Cotrell Funeral Services. Cotrell remains a member, joined by new partner operations Willow Ridge and Fowler Sullivan Funeral Home. All three are in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Lynn Elliott of Worsham College of Mortuary Science joined as a student member. Join us in welcoming all three of our newest members to the OGR family! Oliverie named ‘Funeral Director of the Year’ Geri Oliverie, manager and owner of Oliverie Funeral Home in Manchester Township, New Jersey, was selected as “American Funeral Director” magazine’s 2020 Funeral Director of the Year. Oliverie became a funeral director in 1986. She opened her first funeral home in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1987, and joined OGR the same year. She moved her operation from Lakehurst to its current location in Manchester in the year 2000, and plans to open a 19,000 square foot second location with a banquet hall in Jackson this May. “I love helping families plan their passing and funerals,” Oliverie said. “I never regretted the field I chose and hope to continue helping families in Geri Oliverie of OGR member firm Oliverie Funeral Home in Manchester Township, N.J., on the cover of American Funeral Director’s December 2020 issue. (image courtesy Kates-Boylston Publications) their time of need for many years to come in new and different ways here in Manchester and in the new location in Jackson, which will have the grief counseling center and the banquet center, ‘The Wisteria.’ My dream is to help families in all phases of grief, before, during and beyond in many new ways that the future holds for us.” www.ogr.org | The Independent® 33

Member News News from Golden Rule Funeral Homes Member News Rowland awarded MBE Congratulations to Tony Rowland, director of OGR member Rowland Brothers, Ltd., based in Whitehorse Road, West Croydon, for being awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire), “for services to undertaking and the community in Surrey.” Hemmerle celebrates 30 years of marriage, new grandchild OGR past president Tom Hemmerle had two incredible reasons to celebrate this past quarter. First, he and his wife Natalie celebrated 30 years of marriage. “We’ve grown together, built a great family together and now we get to enjoy our grandkids,” Tom said. “She has put up with a lot over the years because of my chosen career. Natalie is the best wife, mom and Nonnie. These past 30 years have been great.” And on March 11, he welcomed his new grandson Luke Joseph Hemmerle to the world. Luke was born weighing 8lbs, 3oz and 19 1/2 inches long. Mother and baby are doing well (and grandfather is elated!). Rowland received his MBE from the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, the future King of England. (photo provided) Rowland’s driving ambition throughout his adult life has been “to help create a society in which all are treated equally, as men, women and young people who – whatever their circumstances – deserve to receive compassionate treatment in times of personal difficulty.” Four decades ago when professional bereavement counseling was not generally available, Rowland established a continuing bereavement aftercare program for all individuals and families using his firm’s services - at no extra cost to them. He also established a worldwide network and support structure to improve the efficient and compassionate repatriation of deceased British nationals who died abroad. To date, his program has been responsible for more than 40,000 such repatriations, including those killed in the South Asia tsunami as well as the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks. 34 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021

to Better Serve Families Technology Solutions Built Matthews Aurora™ Funeral Solutions is focused on helping families move from grieving to remembrance and helping deathcare professionals simplify and enhance the way they do business. Our portfolio of technology solutions consistently identifies new ways to help you serve families and adapt to customer expectations. For more information contact your Matthews Aurora™ Service Consultant or visit matthewsaurora.com MAFS-7826-2020 © 2020 Matthews International Corporation, all rights reserved. MATTHEWS® and MATTHEWS INTERNATIONAL® are registered trademarks of Matthews International Corporation. Matthews Technology Solutions include: Arranger An interactive presentation system that helps funeral professionals simplify the arrangement process and sell better funerals. Family Connections Provide families with a private planning website to review and select services, merchandise and record biographical information prior to the in-person arrangement. Funeral Advisor A comprehensive case management and forms automation system that integrates the interactive arrangement presentation and family planning website into a business operating system for large or small funeral homes. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 35

Supplier News OGR Welcomes 3 New Supply Partners Express Funeral Funding Express Funeral Funding contacts the insurance company on behalf of your family, completes all of the necessary documentation for the assignment of their loved one’s life insurance policy and ensures payment to the funeral home, typically within 24 hours of verification. • 3.5% rate John Goebel Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator John@ExpFF.com 812.204.7810 ExpressFuneralFunding.com SAVE THE DATE September 19-21 Hotel Carmichael Carmel, Indiana The Hartway System™ Hartway is modern marketing with heart. Through advanced automation and personalization, Hartway integrates quality digital marketing tools into your existing digital marketing system. Designed to lift your reputation, the system delivers growth through new preneeds leads and increased cremation cases. A supportive and compassionate experience begins with their first website visit, and Hartway delivers marketing that matches those values & the quality you provide. No website redesign is needed to make The Hartway System™ work for you. • free setup of the Hartway System ™ ($1,500 value) David Mills, Chief Growth Officer 888.652.0119 DMills@Story-Collaborative.com Hartway.com Symmetry Elevating Solutions Symmetry is a beautifully crafted, expertly engineered accessibility-related product line proudly made in the U.S.A. at the Bella Elevator LLC manufacturing plant. Promoted and sold by our exclusive nationwide network of carefully selected Symmetry partners and associates, Symmetry offers residential elevators, vertical platform lifts, LULA elevators and vertical reciprocating conveyors, including the casket lift. Strictly following national code guidelines and adhering to local jurisdiction requirements and variances, Symmetry products are ADA and ASME compliant. Symmetry representatives possess a wealth of knowledge and experience and are committed to excellence for the life of the product—before, during and after project completion. • 6 month extended parts warranty ($500 value) Scott Strum, Product Specifier 877.375.1428 CustomerService@SymmetryElevator.com SymmetryElevators.com 36 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021

Supplier News News from OGR’s Supplier Network OpusXenta webinar with OGR Member Resources Director Nancy Weil available for free - Has the past year been stressful for you? Feeling stretched too thin? It doesn’t have to be that way. Imagine a meaningful and lasting solution for dealing with stress. Nancy delivered a webinar for OGR supply partner OpusXenta, and the recording is now available for free. Find a link on the blog at OGR.org. | APASI hosting weekly refreshers via Zoom - Refresh yourself on how to use APASI’s Agent Portal or, in a separate session, learn about APASI’s plan and best practices when offering it to the families you serve. All sessions are held Mondays and Thursdays. Send any questions to admin@APASIplan.com | Express Funeral Funding integrates with Halcyon Software - Halcyon’s management software is now configured to automatically pass information directly to Express Funeral Funding’s online claim submission platform, the Express Hub, making the experience even faster and easier. | The Foresight Want to see your company’s news featured here? OGR Supply Partners are invited to send your press releases and other company updates to Communications Director Evan Hoffmeyer at EHoffmeyer@OGR.org for inclusion here and on our blog at OGR.org. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 37 Companies announces Chris Cruger as new CEO - Cruger assumed his new responsibilities in addition to being a managing partner effective with the new year. His colleague and close friend Dan Isard, former managing partner, stayed on as the founder of the company. “There is no one in this profession with the experience, drive and ethics that Chris has,” Isard said. “Chris continues to successfully improve our operational and transactional services. Since joining Foresight, he has demonstrated his passion and ability to help our clients and implemented some key initiatives to further expand the company.” | Funeral home operations for sale - OGR supply partner Johnson Consulting Group maintains a database of individuals interested in buying funeral home and cemetery businesses, like current availabilities in Florida, Illinois and Texas. For more information on these, or to add your name to their list to be contacted about opportunities in your region, contact Bob Ekins at BEkins@ JohnsonConsulting.com.

Leaders. Influencers. Trailblazers. Industry Experts. Trusted Advisors. We are The Foresight Companies. At The Foresight Companies, we are passionate about the funeral and cemetery profession. Our business and financial consulting firm has a singular focus, our client’s success. We provide solution-based services that guide you through the process of strategic change. No one knows the funeral service and cemetery businesses better than we do. We have been trusted consultants to the funeral and cemetery profession for more than 40 years. Call us to join those who have trusted in us and to start receiving insight from the best in the business! 800-426-0165 | theforesightcompanies.com SUCCESSION PLANNING | MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS | ACCOUNTING STRATEGIC BUSINESS ANALYSIS | VALUATIONS | FINANCING HUMAN RESOURCES & COMPLIANCE

OGR Foundation OGR Foundation OGR Foundation Grants ‘Awards of Excellence’ Scholarships This year, two students were awarded scholarships through OGR’s charitable foundation. Both demonstrated solid academic performance, community involvement and a dedication to the independent funeral service model OGR stands for. Mariah Banks of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science won the Gold level scholarship for $3,500. She has a 3.59 GPA and will graduate in September. Banks is already working as a Funeral Director’s Assistant at a funeral home in Pittsburgh. Mariah Banks (photo provided) “I would like to pass on the trust and compassion shown to families in my community, previously by Ms. Pauline H. Gordon,” Banks said in her scholarship essay. “Ms. Gordon’s business was the only minority-run funeral home in my area during her time. It still has the reputation of being the best, long after her passing and closing in 2003. Money was not a concern. She instead cared about those who lost. I want to be that kind of person and own a business that cares about the pain of others. I aspire to one day operate my own business in an elegant and impressive manner. As an individual and professional in my community, I aspire to incorporate excellence, trust, care, originality and growth into my daily life. I want to advance your average funeral service to a level far beyond your standard amenity. I believe that everyone deserves personal service of the highest quality.” Kenneth Wortman of Fayetteville Technical Community College won the Silver level scholarship for $2,000. Wortman is a full-time student with a 3.97 GPA who expects to graduate in December. He currently works as a Funeral Service Apprentice at a chapel in Charlotte, FOUNDATION North Carolina, but wants to open his own funeral home one day that would specialize in traditional burial, cremation, green burial, alkaline hydrolysis and restorative reconstruction. “I hope to make a difference in the funeral industry, and restore the trust that has been lost,” he said. “Funerals have been overpriced for years, which has led to the rise of cremation. I want to make funerals affordable again, offer old and new methods of disposition, and offer restorative reconstruction. I want to truly pour my heart and work into the community, and provide options that aren’t typically available. I have always stood behind my reputation and work ethic, and I believe that I can change the view on the funeral industry over my career, not just locally but nationally. I hope to leave a legacy of trust, hard work ethic and a morally sound business for my children, that the community can rally behind.” The OGR Foundation is a registered charitable organization under IRS Tax Code 501(c)(3), making all donations fully tax deductible as a chartitable donation. Support the future of funeral service by making a donation today at OGR.org/Foundation. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 39

Above & Beyond Above & Beyond These select Above & Beyond comments are about members who have received outstanding comments on Family Contact surveys for providing exemplary service and going above & beyond expected service levels. These members are now eligible for the Exemplary Service Award. Strunk Funeral Homes Vero Beach, Florida The entire staff was there for us. Their patience and understanding were assuring to us in a time of need. They never rushed us or were impatient with us. They were understanding and compassionate. Everything was done with love and in a quick manner. They worked hand in hand with our church, in coping with grief, gave us space to think and discuss personal matters and went out of their way to be sure we got everything we needed. Please note this was hard to do so quickly after our lose, but Strunk Funeral Home went far above expectations so I can brag on there. THEY ARE THE BEST! Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory Crystal Lake, Illinois Everyone we encountered was compassionate and professional. When we requested anything, they responded immediately or made it clear when it would be ready. We are very pleased we had the same funeral director who had helped with my father three years before. She remembered our family clearly and even remembered having spoken with the deceased (my husband). She involved the same assistant who had been involved in my father’s funeral. I cannot over emphasize how grateful we were to work with someone we had met and who knew us. She presented all options clearly and gave us all the time we needed to make decisions at a time when all decisions were difficult. She provided an email address where we could reach her and responded to all questions quickly and clearly. We could not have received better service anywhere. There was nothing I would do differently. This was exactly the service I wanted. 40 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 FAMILY CONTACT THE GOLDEN RULE Above & Beyond Schoppenhorst, Underwood & Brooks Funeral Home, Inc. Shepherdsville, Kentucky Every staff we encountered was professional, compassionate, friendly, and always ready to respond with immediacy to our needs. Every aspect of the facility and staff was impeccable. Conner’s tone of voice and rate of speech was comforting. He was an excellent listener and followed our rambling dialogs without interrupting, and he provided us with information and direction with our decisions. He was professional, compassionate, friendly, and supportive. He never pressured us with any decisions and was patient throughout our first appointment and each interaction thereafter. Words cannot describe how excellent this was. Family and friends allowed to visit, but at the same time they professionally handled following all CDC rules and keeping everyone safe and comfortable. The ceremony was beautiful, but also safe. We feel like we were family to this funeral home. So much kindness and understanding. Every aspect was beautiful! This funeral home fulfilled beyond our expectations. We will always be thankful to you for this, and to Conner and Don for their tender care of us and our family and guests. Anderson Funeral & Cremation Service Belvidere, Illinois We worked directly with Montana Patterson at Anderson. She was completely professional and overall amazing to work with. Every detail was covered, she answered every question promptly, and was so compassionate towards the family. Working with Montana during the planning process made everything so much easier. She was completely compassionate in working with us and took her time to

Above & Beyond Above & Beyond explain everything thoroughly. We were amazed at how smooth the entire process was. It was a difficult day for us all, but everything was taken care of by the staff. We are still getting compliments on how beautiful the service was. They did a great job with my dad’s appearance, he looked remarkably better than how he looked at the hospital. Kroeger Funeral Home, Inc. Logansport, Indiana The staff at Kroeger are kind and compassionate, thorough, knowledgeable, took their time, and made sure everything was done according to the family’s wishes. The funeral director was detailed and shared all information we needed in a transparent fashion. They also managed the COVID restrictions very well & still met our family’s needs. The staff was very hospitable and open to our wishes. They also provided transportation to the church. We would not do anything different. We feel our service honored our father’s life and provided exactly what we needed to get through this difficult time. Wetzel Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. Hanover, Pennsylvania The team was professional and unobtrusive during the service. The IT professional went out of his way to make sure we had a thumb drive with the photo slideshow and the streamed service to share with other family. He also did a great job organizing a pile of photos into a As funeral directors are forced to change the way they do business amid the pandemic, feedback from the families you serve is more important than ever - and you can get it even faster if you encourage families to fill out the online form instead of using the paper form. Not using online forms yet? Contact Krystal Flores at KFlores@OGR.org to get your funeral home’s custom link. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 41 meaningful keepsake. Mr. Miller arranged a viewing before cremation to accommodate schedules of family. Warren Miller did a phenomenal job with his team developing good options for outside visitation (at Trinity’s Portico) and a church service at the funeral home for family. He listened carefully to what we wanted for our wife/mother and offered good suggestions, even during a time with limited options due to COVID. He was available at all hours, even answering his cell phone one evening “thank you for calling, how can I help?” This is true customer service! He also delivered flowers from the service to our home to allow the family to eat together without having to worry about taking care of this task. The live streaming was great and watched by numerous family and friends later, and the tv with the running “slideshow” was fantastic. The urn ark was also a great suggestion. Under the restrictions created by COVID, our service was the best we could have hoped for. We are grateful that we were able to have 150+ people at the outside visitation and a beautiful church service at the funeral home for family. The Family Contact Program is a FREE member benefit that is simple to use and offers valuable information on your funeral home’s operations, services and staff through surveying families you’ve served. Join OGR’s Family Contact Program today and you could be one of next year’s Exemplary Service Award winners. For more information or to sign up, visit OGR.org/family-contact-program or contact us by email at FamilyContact@OGR.org or (800) 637-8030. FAMILY CONTACT

Don’t have your families wait weeks or months to receive the remainder of their loved one’s policy. Ask your families at the time of arrangement if they’d like to advance additional proceeds from their loved one’s policy. Get your families paid immediately with Family Pay. 42 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021 www.expressfuneralfunding.com 812.949.9011

YP Spotlight YP Spotlight In Memoriam Remembering Family and Friends Elden E. Bjurling July 27, 1950 – January 2, 2021 president & owner of OGR member firm Smith Funeral Home Gardner, MA James E. Heald January 21, 1931 – January 16, 2021 partner at OGR Member firm Smith & Heald Funeral Home Milford, NH Francis Ridgely Huntt November 6, 1933 – February 20, 2021 Founder & CEO of OGR member firm Huntt Funeral Home Waldorf, MD www.ogr.org | The Independent® ® 43

MEET YOUR OGR STAFF WENDY KING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/CEO WKing@OGR.org 800.637.8030, ext. 140 • strategic execution / management • sponsorships • Board of Directors liaison • OGR Foundation • industry liaison As executive director/CEO, Wendy brings with her a 30+ year passion for helping associations, non-profits and government entities succeed, from the American Heart Association to the Indianapolis Police Department. NANCY WEIL MEMBER RESOURCES DIRECTOR NWeil@OGR.org 800.637.8030, ext. 304 • member recruitment & retention • supply partner relations • member benefits & programs Nancy brings her years of experience working in the funeral industry to our members with certifications as a Grief Services Provider, Funeral Celebrant, Soul Injury Ambassador and Laughter Leader. EMILIE PERKINS, CAE, CMP, CMM, PMP, CED EDUCATION & EVENTS DIRECTOR EPerkins@OGR.org 800.637.8030, ext. 161 • professional development • conferences & events • Young Professionals Council • Professional Development Committee liaison Emilie passionately believes in continual professional development. She received her Certified Meeting Professional designation (CMP) in 2009 and Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2014, Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM) in 2016, her Project Management Professional (PMP) designation in 2020 and her Certified Event Designer (CED) designation in 2021. EVAN HOFFMEYER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR EHoffmeyer@OGR.org 800.637.8030, ext. 143 • communication & marketing strategy • The Independent magazine editor • supply partner support A local journalist for 12 years, Evan is excited to bring his expertise in media and government relations, public policy and content marketing to this new arena. ALYSSA CASTILLE MEMBERSHIP & MEETINGS COORD. ACastille@OGR.org 800.637.8030, ext. 131 • membership processing • continuing education • supply partner orders • invoicing Before joining OGR in 2020, Alyssa worked as Assistant Director of Special Events at Indiana Landmarks and continues to enjoy volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and Gleaners Food Bank. ADELINE BORDER COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR ABorder@OGR.org 800.637.8030, ext. 189 • newsletter & email communication • social media management • advertising coordination Before joining OGR in July 2020, Adeline worked with the Association for Information Systems and interned for WFYI-FM, Downtown Indy, Inc. and the Muncie (Indiana) Visitors Bureau. KRYSTAL FLORES MEMBER SERVICES COORDINATOR KFlores@OGR.org 800.637.8030, ext. 146 • Family Contact Program manager • event registration Before joining OGR in 2021, Krystal was a project executive at Ashfield Meetings & Events. Her expertise lies in customer service, communication and organization, as well as fluency in both English and Spanish. 44 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021

Celebrating Milestone Anniversaries — April, May & June — 60 years | June 1961 Healy Chapel Aurora, IL 45 years | June 1976 Grandstaff-Hentgen Funeral Service, Inc. Wabash, IN 35 years | May 1986 Nelson Bros. Funeral Services Port Melbourne, Australia 20 years | May 2001 Smith Funeral & Memorial Services Warren, RI 15 years | April 2006 Hahn-Groeber Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. Lafayette, IN 15 years | June 2006 Pitman Funeral Homes, Inc. Wentzville, MO 55 years | April 1966 Pray Funeral Home, Inc. Charlotte, MI 40 years | June 1981 Smith, Bizzell & Warner Funeral Home Gary, IN 30 years | May 1991 Saamis Memorial Chapel Medicine Hat, Alberta 20 years | June 2001 Davenport Family Funeral Homes & Crematory Barrington, IL 15 years | June 2006 Charles Rader Funeral Home Henderson, TX 10 years | May 2011 Stewart Family Funeral Home Tyler, TX ®

Funeral Service Funeral Service The Day’s Not Over Yet By Evan J. Strong, Evan J. Strong Funeral Services Many of us at some point in our lives have heard the phrase, “The day’s not over yet!” My great-uncle introduced me to it. I asked him one day why he always said it and he told me that when he landed with the Third Canadian Division at Juno Beach on D-Day, they achieved their objective and were regrouping and congratulating themselves when their commanding officer came by and said, “The day’s not over lads. There is still work to be done!” It was something that stuck with my great-uncle, and he often said it for the rest of his life. I have always taken the phrase to mean that we can never be complacent and that some challenge is always lurking around the corner to test us. That the end of our “day” is never certain, and we should expect the unexpected. As funeral professionals, I believe we embody the meaning of “the day is not over yet.” The nature of our calling is one of facing the unexpected each day and never being complacent. We are, as a profession (I have never understood why some refer to us as an Industry, it makes me cringe!), dedicated to helping those who are forced to deal with the most unexpected circumstance we as humans face: the death of a loved one. We are there in the darkest times, ready at all hours of the day to help those we serve. We are accustomed to the changing wishes of families. We adapt without breaking stride to those crises, like a sound system that does not work or a video that will not play, with quick action and a solution. The families and communities we serve do not see us sweat; in fact, they have an expectation we will overcome any challenges, and we do. We as a profession have been challenged and tested even more with the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have adapted and created ways to best help those families affected by this tragedy, to help them grieve and mourn, to celebrate and reflect, and to do so within the rules and regulations of our respective jurisdictions. As we continue to confront this pandemic, our profession has shown that the day is not over yet, and we continue to support our communities during these difficult times. As OGR members, we have not taken a rest, we have not lowered our standards even with restrictions and, most importantly, we have remained true to our calling: to serve with dignity and respect. I encourage all of us to stay strong, stay focused and support our fellow professionals during these difficult times. We serve our families and communities best when we know the day’s not over yet. It never is for those of us who dedicate our lives to the service of others. Evan J. Strong is a Licensed Funeral and Cremation Professional and president of Evan J. Strong Funeral Services in Calgary, Alberta. He also serves as OGR’s President-elect for the 2020-21 membership year. Evan J. Strong is an OGR member. Any member may submit content for publication consideration, free of charge. Reach out to Evan Hoffmeyer at EHoffmeyer@OGR.org for details. 46 www.ogr.org | Spring 2021

c r a fte d by s ta r ma r k  Corrugated Fiberboard Cremation Containers reflect the beauty of a life lived. 4 Quantity $159 Each* 8 Quantity $145 Each* * Delivered price, minimum order of 4 units, can mix & match, call for bulk ordering. Other Themes Matching Print Urns (Sold Separately) Vista Seashore Vista Patriot Vista Beechwood V ood Vista Meadow Vista Mountain Call Starmark to order:   View More Units at: Copyright © 2021 Starmark Cremation Products. All rights reserved. Specific portions of Starmark products may be covered by one or more of the following US Patents D874,784, D859,777 10,500,118 10,500,117 10,434,025 10,398,616 10,098,801 9,872,809 9,649,241 9,649,240 9,597,248 9,539,161 9,427,369 9,248,069 9,089,467 9,050,234 8,959,732 8,607,423 8,595,908 8,418,329 8,375,535 8,104,151 7,213,311 7,204,003 7,249,402 7,249,403 7,234,211 7,263,751. Additional Patents Pending. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 47

International Order of the Golden Rule 3502 Woodview Trace, Ste. 300 Indianapolis, IN 46268 www.ogr.org Presort Std. U.S. Postage PAID Indianapolis, IN Permit #279 Mark Your Calendars APRIL 29 - The Golden Circle Celebration: An Evening of Excellence (Virtual Event) MAY 25 - Human Resources Round-Up: How to Have Tough Conversations - From How to Dress Professionally to Employee Safety (Webinar) JUNE 8 - How to Become the Go-to Funeral Home for Veterans Part 1: Serving Veterans and Their Families (Webinar) JUNE 9 - How to Become the Go-to Funeral Home for Veterans Part 2: Engaging the Veteran Market (Webinar) JUNE 29 - Human Resources Round-Up: A Fresh Take - Guide to Navigating the generation gap (Webinar) JULY 27 - Human Resources Round-Up: Finding, developing and keeping top talent - 3 angles to a common challenge (Webinar) AUGUST 24 - New & Now in Funeral Service - Top 10 Trends You Can’t Ignore (Webinar) SEPTEMBER 19-21 - OGR Leadership Summit (In-person, Hotel Carmichael - Carmel, Indiana) Be sure to check your email for any additional events! Latest opportunities at OGR.org/Education

1 Publizr


  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18
  19. 19
  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22
  23. 23
  24. 24
  25. 25
  26. 26
  27. 27
  28. 28
  29. 29
  30. 30
  31. 31
  32. 32
  33. 33
  34. 34
  35. 35
  36. 36
  37. 37
  38. 38
  39. 39
  40. 40
  41. 41
  42. 42
  43. 43
  44. 44
  45. 45
  46. 46
  47. 47
  48. 48

You need flash player to view this online publication