Winter 2021 | Volume 26 | Issue 1 President’s Message: Forging a New Path P.4 P.8 Virtual Roundtables P.12 Managing Your Business on Social Media P.18 Waking Up to Gratitude

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. 43-1828432. Send address changes to OGR, Attn: Mailing List, 3502 Woodview Trace, Ste. 300 Indianapolis, IN 46268. © 2021 International Order of the Golden Rule. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. — BOARD of DIRECTORS — President President-elect Founded in 1928, OGR is composed of independently owned and operated funeral homes located throughout North America and overseas. 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 at (800) 637-8030 or www.OGR.org. Advertisers Index Access Financial Group ...................................................................... 23 Chris Chigas, (800) 487-8220, ext. 8233 cc@afinancial.com | www.afinancial.com Answering Service for Directors .......................................................... 32 Kevin Czachor, (800) 868-9950 sales@myasd.com | www.myasd.com Cremation Consulting ......................................................................... 39 Andrew Loos, (816) 808-6828 andrew@cremationconsulting.com The Dodge Company ........................................................................... 27 Timothy Collison, (800) 443-6343 tcollison@dodgeco.com | www.dodgeco.com Express Funeral Funding ..................................................................... 11 John Goebel, (812) 949-9011 john@expff.com | www.expressfuneralfunding.com The Foresight Companies ................................................................... 15 Catherine Belliveau, (602) 274-6464 catherine@f4sight.com | www.f4sight.com.com Matthews Aurora™ Funeral Solutions ................................................. 17 Marty Strohofer, (812) 926-5673 mstrohofer@matw.com | www.matw.com Medi Air Purifier ................................................................................ 13 Iam Hedendal, (800) 699-0960 belimee@gmail.com | www.mediairpurifier.com Nomis Publications ............................................................................ 29 Peggy Rouzzo peggy@nomispublications.com | www.nomispublications.com OpusXenta ........................................................................................... 7 Michelle Imam Bakhsh, (971) 900-7875 michelleb@opusxenta.com | www.opusxenta.com Skyways Media .................................................................................. 28 Garry Wayne, (289) 290-4409 garry@skyways-media.com | www.skyways-media.com Starmark ........................................................................................... 10 Arie Elder, (765) 966-7676 arie.elder@starmarkcp.com | www.starmarkcp.com Thumbies .......................................................................................... 38 Michael McCormick, (815) 880-5203 mmccormick@thumbies.com | www.thumbies.com 2 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 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 (800) 637-8030 Fax: (512) 334-5514 Email: info@ogr.org Website: www.ogr.org 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 Membership Director Education & Events Director Communications Director Meetings & Mem. Coord. Communications Coord. Wendy King Nancy Weil Emilie Perkins, CAE, CMP Evan Hoffmeyer Alyssa Castille Adeline Border The Independent® | Winter 2021 | Volume 26 | Issue 1

The Independent® | Winter 2021 | Volume 26 | Issue 1 Table of Contents 4 | President’s Message 5 | Meet OGR’s New Executive Director 6 | Professional Development 5 12 20 7 | Membership Year Change 8 | 9 | OGR Roundtables 10-minute Talks 12 | Managing Your Business on Social 18 | Waking Up to Gratitude 20 | 24 | 26 | YP Spotlight: Eric Cahill How to Handle Online Reviews Supplier News 30 | Member Spotlight: Hoffen 33 | 34 | Member News 35 | Milestone Anniversaries 36 | 37 | Above & Beyond In Memoriam www.ogr.org | The Independent® 3 OGR Foundation Scholarships

President’s Message President’s Message Forging a New Path 2020 was a year of change, in more ways than one. OGR transitioned to a new management team led by Raybourn Group International in Indianapolis; funeral homes adapted to serve their families without traditional connection and service opportunities; and associations like ours – across all sectors – have learned they can’t rely on their annual conference as their primary means of networking and growth. COVID-19 is still with us for the time being but as entrepreneur Jim Rohn said, “It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” OGR’s board of directors and staff are charting a new course that will lead our association into its centennial year later this decade and beyond regardless of what obstacles our industry may face. One of the first developments you’ll notice is a greater focus on year-round professional development that’s flexible to your schedule, not just at an annual gathering that requires travel. This evolution comes from a time of re-evaluating how we approach our conference after hearing from many of you that you can’t afford to send more than one person – if anyone at all – from your funeral home to an event like the conference because you need your staff in-house to serve families. All of our top-rated content from the Annual Conference plus these new webinars and podcasts will be gathered in one place: OGR’s new Learning Library, which we’re unveiling this year. We know your time is valuable and you need access to content on your own schedule. These education and professional development opportunities will be paired with new peer-to-peer connection opportunities, starting online with the hope to offer some in-person as well once health restrictions allow it later in the year. To make sure our new way forward will best serve you, our members, we will reach out with a membership survey later this year. We understand that time is tight, but sacrificing a few minutes when the survey comes in will benefit not only you and your funeral home but the entire association for years to come. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. We’ve all traveled a similar path over the past year from, “How are we ever going to do this?” to “I cannot believe we did this, but…”. I know we as independent funeral homes and as a collective association will continue to not only survive but thrive in the years to come as we continue to lean on one another as our industry enters its next chapter. Yours in service, Mary Flynn Steele OGR’ w online OGR ne LEARNING LIBRAR Professional development webinars on-demand to fit your schedule Pr dem d to de w you sch ar e Coming soon... 4 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021

OGR News OGR News New Leader at the Helm By Wendy King, OGR Executive Director/CEO Last fall I had the privilege of joining the International Order of the Golden Rule as your new Executive Director/CEO. A lifetime of association and non-profit work has prepared me for this role, but I also know I have the advantage of having the Big 4 (family, staff, volunteers and members) by my side as OGR enters 2021. On a Personal Level Like most of you, my family has always been a part of my work life. My husband Jim, a retired firefighter who now teaches at a public high school, has spent countless hours setting up tables, tearing down displays and carrying boxes for my work events. My three stepchildren, now all grown, were indoctrinated at an early age to stuff goodie bags, work a booth and even don a mascot costume! And I still consider my mom and dad, now in their 80s, as my two hardest-working volunteers! So now that I have joined the OGR family, I am excited to engage my four beautiful grandchildren – ages 9 months to 8 years old – into my work life. Well… maybe I’ll give Baby Emma a pass until she can walk on her own! Volunteers + Staff = Great Results As I stepped into this role, I quickly realized that one of the greatest gifts I was given was the OGR volunteer leadership and staff. Through OGR’s volunteer leaders, Wendy’s grandson, Hudson, at the American Heart Association’s Indianapolis Heart Walk www.ogr.org | The Independent® 5 I have learned the association’s history, better understood the challenges our profession faces and realized the opportunities that lie ahead. They have shared their vision for a stronger OGR that can provide you with even greater resources and more significant benefits. In the staff I have seen five individuals who could not be more dedicated to ensuring OGR moves quickly and successfully into its next phase. Each staff member brings their own unique talents that have already enabled us to start executing strategies that will grow our organization – strategies that are designed to help your business grow. I do not have to tell you that the real magic happens when we pair great volunteers with great staff. MVP As I look forward to the coming year, there is one more person I am excited to have by my side – and that is YOU! Because of you, we are challenging ourselves to listen more, honor and learn from the past, embrace innovation, seize new technologies, engage future generations, and be unique and be exceptional. I want to hear from you this year. Tell me what we are doing well, where we can improve and what you need from OGR. Until we can meet in person, I’m just a phone call or Zoom chat away! Wendy and her husband Jim at an American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” event

Education Education Professional Development in 2021: At Your Pace, On Your Schedule By Emilie Perkins, Education & Events Director 2020 brought new challenges and course corrections we had not anticipated. As we start 2021, OGR is committed to providing you with the professional development opportunities that address the challenges that independently owned funeral homes face and prepare you for the next stages of funeral service. After all, we have had over 90 years of experience serving professionals just like you. Now more than ever we need to connect – not just as funeral service professionals, but as a community. OGR has designed a year’s worth of professional development and connection specifically with this in mind. We know you have a choice when it comes to where you spend your time and money, and as your partner in excellence we want to be your go-to for the latest in innovation. In 2021 our promise to you is: • Webinar Series: OGR is gathering topics and trends that are most relevant to you. From important HR and workplace topics such as navigating difficult conversations, to what is new and now in the industry. OGR is willing to have the tough conversations in order to provide you with the practical advice you need to thrive in 2021. We know that your time is at a premium, so we want to allow for the flexibility to access content either live or on demand, so these will all be available in our Learning Library after they are broadcast live. All live broadcasts will be at 3 p.m. ET. » Feb. 23: The Relevance of Restorative Art » Human Resources Roundup * March 30: Implicit Bias - Why What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You * May 25: How to Have Tough Conversations - From How to Dress Professionally to Employee Safety 6 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 * June 29: A Guide to Navigating the Generation Gap * July 27: Filling Your HR Toolbox - From Job Descriptions to Best Practices » Aug. 24: New & Now in Funeral Service - Top 10 Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore • Digital Dialogue podcast series: Industry leaders discuss the latest developments and trends in the death care industry in a series of six podcasts all available free of charge, on-demand via OGR’s new online Learning Library. • Summer YP event: This summer, OGR will bring together members who are not yet in primary decision-making roles at their funeral homes, regardless of age, for a day and a half of professional development and networking. • Leadership summit: This event will be designed specifically for owners, managers and others who are in primary decision-making roles at their funeral homes • Revamped peer-to-peer connections: As always, you can expect to see Study Groups and other invitationals like the annual pheasant hunt, but we are adding new Special Interest Groups designed with you in mind as well! • Learning Library: OGR is excited to announce this new member benefit - an on-demand digital storehouse featuring the top-rated content from the Annual Conference, past webinars, podcasts and more. l arning e library

Education Education Emilie joined OGR as Education & Events Director in 2020. With more than 21 years’ experience with strategic meeting management, marketing and design, she has extensive strength in collaboration, fiscal accountability, strategic planning and communication. She passionately believes in continual professional development as evidenced by her designations as a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certified Association Executive (CAE), Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM). She is currently in the final stages of her Certified Event Designer (CED) designation. Have a professional development session you want to offer for your fellow OGR members? Fill out the form at OGR.org/Education or email Emilie at EPerkins@OGR.org. 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 staff has sent out 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 MEMBERSHIP DUES LEVELS ARE NOT CHANGING. That means if your funeral home's dues are paid in installments, nothing will change for you; 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. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 7 Technology Solutions for Funeral Homes, Cemeteries, and Crematoria. OpusXenta’s innovative cloud-based solutions enable you to better manage your operations, adapt to a changing market environment and build out your digital presence. Our product portfolio is led by two innovative technology solutions for the death care profession: byondpro for operational excellence and byondcloud, the premier online market place for funeral homes, cemeteries, crematoria and suppliers. Read Our Story opusxenta.com/about

BEST PRACTICES SHARED IDEAS GENERATED QUESTIONS ANSWERED 1/21 TECH TIPS hosted by Peter Urban & Charles Castiglia The pandemic may have moved up our plans to update the technology we use in our funeral homes, but tech goes beyond the streaming of services. From arrangement conferences to day sheets, how you harness technology can impact your productivity, reduce errors and just make life easier. 2/18 The return of Virtual Round Tables at OGR.org now monthly Register today at OGR.org/Virtual-Roundtables MARKETING YOUR FUNERAL HOME hosted by Jim Rudolph & Andrew Loos Even with COVID restrictions, safety concerns and limited budgets, there are still ways to promote your funeral home. Social media, community events and Google reviews are some of the areas that will be touched on. There is nothing better than getting free, positive publicity so get 2021 started with an updated marketing plan. 3/18 BALANCING THE 2 FAMILIES YOU SERVE WHILE NOT LOSING YOURSELF IN THE PROCESS hosted by Jamie Wieting & Cathie Tattrie When days get busy it can leave you wondering how you can be all things to all people, including yourself. Between the families you serve at the funeral home and the family you love at home it is easy to get overwhelmed trying to balance it all. Bring your tips, trials and tribulations and let’s devise a plan for better balance. Interested in a session but not able to attend? Send your questions to Nancy Weil at NWeil@OGR.org and she can ask them on your behalf. Each session will be recorded so you can watch when your schedule allows.

Community Community 10-minute Talks: A New Way to Reach Out to Caregivers By Nancy Weil, OGR Member Resources Director Included with your OGR membership The pandemic has been especially challenging for professionals working in healthcare. Nursing homes, hospices and hospitals have all had the stress of handling the unknown while trying to maintain their own health and wellness. Show them a little love through OGR’s new community outreach program, a series of six “10-minute Talks: Coping During COVID-19” designed to give frontline workers a brief respite from their duties. Each of these programs is designed to stand alone so they can pick and choose which topics appeal to them. Plus, the short duration makes these a great way to recharge during a break or watching at home. Topics covered are: • Step Away from Stress • A Moment for Mindfulness • 3 Emotional ‘Cousins’: Worry, Stress and Fear • Unsupported Loss and Grief • Faith as a Spiritual Journey • Pivot Toward the Positive Led by OGR Member Resources Director Nancy Weil with Andrew Loos from OGR member Heartland Cremation and Heather Braatz, licensed funeral director from Worsham College of Mortuary Science, these lighthearted and entertaining talks are sure to bring a smile to the faces of those on the front lines. Best of all, it’s an easy caregiver marketing program for your funeral home to offer. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 9 • Sign-up at OGR.org/Virtual-Roundtables • OGR will send you a link to a private YouTube page that holds all six programs. • E-mail that link along with an introductory note to the caregivers you know. • Wait for the thanks to roll in! You also have the option to download the programs and have your own logo added at the beginning and end of each talk. OGR can add your logo to the front and end of each talk for a small fee. Don’t forget your own staff! These talks also make for a great stress reliever for everyone on your staff, so be sure to share the link with them as well. 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

c r a fte d by s ta r ma r k 4 Quantity $159 Each* 8 Quantity $145 Each* Corrugated Fiberboard Cremation Container Matching Print Urns Artisan products Crafted by Starmark reflect the beauty of a life lived. Other Themes (Sold Separately) Vista Patriot Vista Beechwood View More Units at:  Vista Meadow Call Starmark to order:  Call for bulk pricing *Delivered price, minimum order of 4 units, can mix & match, call for bulk ordering Specific portions of Starmark products may be covered by one or more of the following US Patents D874,784, D859,777 10 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 9,248,069 8,607,423 8,595,908 10,500,118 9,089,467 8,418,329 8,375,535 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 8,959,732 9,050,234 8,104,151 7,213,311 7,204,003 7,249,402 7,249,403 7,234,211 7,263,751. Additional Patents Pending Copyright © 2021 Starmark Cremation Products. All rights reserved.

This new year take your business to the next level See why thousands of funeral homes and cemeteries have chosen us to help make their business more profitable. www.expressfuneralfunding.com 812.949.9011 www.ogr.org | The Independent® 11

Top Challenges and Solutions for Managing Your Business on Social Media by Mike Hepburn, YourSocialStrategy.com I t’s part of our daily lives. We check what our friends and family are up to, keep up to date on news or entertainment, and yes, even check in on our favorite companies. What started as a virtual social gathering space has evolved into an advertising tool for businesses to grow and engage with their customers. But it’s not always the easiest marketing tool to navigate, especially for small businesses, and especially in the funeral industry. Have you ever considered turning to a digital marketing approach utilizing social media? We’ve heard many complaints over the years, and we’ve gathered some of the top challenges businesses face when trying to manage a social media strategy and offer some simple solutions to help get you on track. Challenge #1: Time One of the toughest issues that arise for many businesses, especially in the funeral profession, is the lack of available time to dedicate toward social media and digital marketing. When your time is divided between families and business, the time necessary for a successful social strategy is put to the wayside. 12 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 SOLUTION: Dedicating even just an hour a week to setting up a few posts across social media, updating what your business and staff have been up to, and to answer any comments/questions will go a long way. With scheduling tools (even free ones), it makes it much easier to schedule ahead of time to keep up to date. Challenge #2: The overwhelming number of social platforms I don’t know about you, but I personally can be overwhelmed with how many social media apps are floating around every year. Some come and go (beware of those fad apps!) while others stay the course; it’s a constant job just to keep track of them all and predict which are the important ones to invest in. Do you know which social channel best suits your business and demographic, and which apps not to get blindsided by? Elevating your digital marketing strategy with social media is all about finding the right avenue to get your message across and how. Facebook is a front-runner in advertising, while LinkedIn is superior for B2B. Have a visual aesthetic? Instagram is the one for you. So how exactly do you navigate the sea of apps?

Marketing SOLUTION: Look at what others are doing in your industry. You’ll see a pattern very quickly where your competitors choose to focus on, where they succeed and where they might be struggling. Not to say you can’t branch out, but if you see a successful advantage to being on one platform over another initially, go with your gut. There is always an option to move onto another platform. Challenge #3: Managing your engagement and following Have you ever dived into the comments on a Facebook post? Most of the time, we are just innocent observers. Maybe we even get a giggle out of the comments before moving on. But when you’re navigating comments as a business page, especially one that deals with serious subject matter, comments can either be a welcome sight or a dreaded nightmare. While most comments are always well-received, there are always going to be instances of inappropriate behavior that needs to be monitored. If you aren’t on top of it, it could look bad on your brand image. “It’s the story of the double-edged sword: comments and engagement are encouraged...but one negative comment can lead to a landslide disaster.” On the other side of things, comments on Facebook can be the start of friendly conversation and engagement brands dream of. It’s the story of the double-edged sword. Comments and engagement are encouraged, and even necessary for some algorithms (think Facebook and Instagram: when your engagement is higher, there is a greater chance of your content being shown). They provide a potential lead, just as a cold call, word of mouth or other selling tactics provide. But one negative comment can lead to a landslide of a disaster before you even realize what’s happened. SOLUTION: Don’t have the time to constantly monitor? Our advice is to ensure you have those social platforms on your phone or connected to your computer. Give a quick glance every evening or morning. Typically, this will give you an average idea of what and when people are interacting with your posts and you can send a quick reply or continue the conversation without taking up much more than 5 or 10 minutes every day. Challenge #4: Growth Growing social channels has increasingly become harder and harder to do, with feeds being disrupted by noise, fake news and your posts just not being shown due to hard-hitting algorithms. Consistency in your posting schedule, knowing your audience and curating engaging content are all ways to help grow your page, but it’s been proven that what used to work doesn’t always cut it. Advertising has become a huge player on social media to get your message in front of your target audience. Medi Air Purifier Advanced Technology for the best clean Simple Operation for ease of use Sanitizes both air and surfaces Decontaminates your funeral home or residence from: • mold • dust • pollen • harmful pathogens “This is the best air purifier I’ve ever bought. I use one in my home and one at the funeral home. Our families are very happy with it, especially with coronavirus concerns.” Tom Hemmerle Barnett-Strother Funeral Home OGR Immediate Past President Call (800) 699-0960 and mention OGR to get $650 off list price; $700 off each unit when ordering 2 or more MediAirPurifier.com www.ogr.org | The Independent® 13

Marketing SOLUTION: Contests and giveaways are always a quick way to grow your following. Have a product or service you could give away? A gift card or two you could offer your followers? Contests go a long way in the short term to start growing your audience. Retaining them? That’s always the sticking point. But if you are targeting your core audience with the giveaways and have the content and the consistency to back it up, you’ll be able to retain those followers you make in a quick giveaway. Challenge #5: Creating and curating content At the end of the day, it’s the content you supply on your social channels that will drive growth, engagement, and retainability of new and current followers. Discovering dynamic content that informs, entertains and has a clear-cut call-to-action will help bring customers to your page and keep them there. The difficult part? Curating and creating content takes time. Instead of a solution for this challenge, we have a few tips to help you along the way in curating and creating content that will help take your business’ social pages to the next level. Finding a balance It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of the same content. Breaking out of the same content you post will bring variety to your channel and show off the personality of your brand (more about that later). You offer social media audiences more than funeral service. Grief resources, answers to common questions or even a behind-the-scenes look into what funeral directors do can all be valuable content. Becoming a resource Outside of the service you provide, what are you able to offer your audience? For funeral professionals, maybe it’s sharing grief resources, funeral etiquette, common 14 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021

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

Marketing questions or even a behind-the-scenes look into the director’s shoes. It’s all about the aesthetics Taking the time to decide on a color palette or the types of images/content you want to post will go a long way. Think about your favorite brands. When you see a logo, a certain color, sometimes just a single image, you’re able to easily relate that back to that brand. On social media, the same logic applies. If someone scrolls their feeds and sees one of your images, they should automatically be able to link it back to you. The right aesthetics will become memorable from the start. Personality Don’t be afraid to show the personality of yourself and your staff. Focusing too heavily on selling will result in people leaving your page and losing connection with you. The more personalized the post, the better. Sharing things like team birthdays, new hires, photos of your staff outside of work and giving back to the community, will bring a new light and personality to your business. Today, a human approach rather than a heavily marketed channel will always go a long way to appearing followers. Managing your business’ social media can be a task in itself, but the rewards you gain are always worth the effort. If you are looking to up your social strategy, resources are aplenty, from a quick Google search to even seeking out an agency dedicated to bringing that strategy in your head to fruition. With a few habit changes, you will be on your way to a successful social strategy for your business. Still not sure if you have the time to manage what your business is able to optimize? Check out the benefits of choosing a social media agency: • That lack of time for fleshing out a strategy that will set your business apart? Take the worry out of your hands with the help of an agency. With some guidance from you, an agency will take your vision, research the market and put together a strategy that will elevate your business to the next level while always staying true to your message. 16 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 • Remember that full time job of monitoring and encouraging engagement? Agencies will take the work off your plate and dedicate the time and resources necessary for keeping up to date on all messages, both negative and positive, to continue to build an engaging and loyal follower base without you having to worry about how much time has passed. • Keeping a steady, consistent posting schedule can get the better of everyone. Without a steady pace that followers can come to expect, your audience might feel disconnected. An agency will not only curate the content but will put together a consistent plan that will ensure your business is always front of mind to your followers – without you even having to go in and schedule another post again. • Struggling to reach your audience of choice? With an agency, demographics and targeting are a key service in ensuring your posts are being reached by the optimal people. No more dead air, only the right people seeing your posts. Whether this is by researching the industry market or by directly advertising to those key groups, agencies will be able to uncover an audience you might never have been able to reach prior. I started working in the funeral profession as president & co-owner of FrontRunner Professional. I worked with that company until leaving to start a new company called FuneralTech, which also became a Golden Services Group supplier. One of my goals and objectives is to offer a great service to a profession of professionals like yourselves. Digital marketing is still relatively new to the funeral profession and I would like to introduce you to it at a cost that is affordable to all funeral home owners. OGR members get 20% off social media packages, 28% off pay-per-click monthly management fees and 17% off SEO monthly fees with YourSocialStrategy.com

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® 17

Waking Up to Gratitude by Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D. I’ve become a fan of sunrises. Before COVID-19 changed all of our lives, my busy travel and teaching schedule had me hopping. Most mornings after I woke up, I went straight to work. I had a love-hate relationship with the adrenaline of stress. I was a slave to emails, itineraries, deadlines, and flight schedules. Now I’m in limbo. With most of my presentations postponed or canceled, I’m home. I have time to linger over my morning cup of coffee. I have time to breathe and to think. I have time to marvel at the sunrise. More and more, what I’ve found myself thinking about is gratitude. I’m feeling so grateful for my life these days that I’m often awash in the warm fuzziness of appreciation. The feeling sneaks up on me when I’m having an inconsequential chat with my wife or puttering around in my kitchen. It blooms when I gaze out the window or think about my new grandson. 18 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 During this morning’s sunrise, I sat down to give more thought to how this pandemic has created an opportunity to wake up to the power of gratitude. As I inventory my gratitude in this article, I invite you to do the same. Gratitude for friends and family Perhaps, like me, you’ve had more time to spend with your household members in recent months. I’ve been married to my wife for 35 years, but I’ve never spent as much time in close company with her as I have since March. Our forced captivity has given me a new appreciation for our relationship, and my unconditional love for her has only deepened. Because I’m not able to spend as much time with non-household family members and friends, on the other hand, when I do get to see them, I’m so thankful that my heart breaks wide open. My first grandchild

Member News Self-Care was born just before COVID restrictions started, and I’ve only been able to visit him a handful of times. When I get to hold him, boy does it feel amazing to have in my arms. Gratitude for basic essentials I have a warm, dry, safe place to live. I’ve never felt more fortunate to have a roof over my head and food in my refrigerator. The other day I happened by a foodbank drive-through. In a middle-class neighborhood, cars were lined up as far as the eye could see. All the extra “stuff” I have in my life doesn’t matter in the least. I have the basics, and for that I am deeply grateful. Gratitude for interdependence Here in America, we’re infected by the “ideal” of rugged individualism. Coined by Herbert Hoover in 1928, this term encapsulated the misguided notion that individuals should be self-reliant and independent, not counting on others for support. These days I look at the grocery-store clerks, healthcare professionals, teachers, and other essential workers with newfound appreciation. I’m not independent. I need them. My family needs them. I also need my neighbors and fellow community members. Whenever I have the chance, I am kind and generous. And I am happy to wear a mask to help keep all of them safe. Gratitude for vocation I founded the Center for Loss and Life Transition decades ago to help people help others. I train grief caregivers. During the pandemic, I’ve been mourning not being able to conduct as many trainings or give live presentations to large groups. Webinars are just not the same. But still, being cut off from my life’s work has made me even more humbled by the past opportunities I’ve had to reach and connect. It’s something I won’t take for granted again. Gratitude for nature I’m putting down my phone, turning off the TV, and getting outside more. I live atop the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and while I’ve always been renewed by nature, I find myself engaging with it more deeply these days. My wife and I like to take our dogs and go for hikes. I’ve been going for more bike rides. What a gift it is to live on this marvelous planet. Gratitude for this moment I realize now that I used to be overly busy. I was better at doing than being. But now I’m appreciating every slow, unscheduled moment. Recently my healthy, 60-year-old brother-in-law spent eleven days in an ICU on a ventilator due to COVID19. For a time, it was touch-and-go. Happily, he survived. Here in North America we tend to obliviously go through life with a high level of assumed invulnerability. Yet every single one of us is mortal, and living each day with an intentional awareness that we might not wake up tomorrow enriches every single minute. Gratitude for surrender This pandemic has me more aware than ever that I have little control over the most important things in life. I can’t keep my loved ones safe. I’m not in charge of the world. So I’m learning to surrender to this lack of control and find gratitude wherever I can. What are you grateful for? When we consciously value something, we’re grateful for it. We actively cherish it. I’ve awakened to gratitude for these most precious values in my life. How about you? Will you use the reset created by the pandemic to inventory your gratitude? Will you adjust your habits and daily routines so they’re more in alignment with your deepest values? The sun is fully up now. It’s shining on a brilliant new day. And I am so grateful to be here. Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., has been recognized as one of North America’s leading death educators and grief counselors. He is founder and director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition and a longtime consultant to funeral service. Contact him at drwolfelt@ centerforloss.com. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 19

YP Spotlight YP Spotlight Young Professional Spotlight: Eric Cahill Eric S. Cahill is a 40-year-old licensed funeral director and embalmer at Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, Florida. How many years have you worked in funeral service? I’ve worked in the funeral industry for 9 years as of April 2021. Started in April 2012 at Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery as a pre-need counselor. Having had two insurance licenses for about 10 years, I was hired on to do pre-planning while I was in mortuary school. It was a double dose of learn and a smaller dosage of earn (at first). Why did you begin working in funeral service? My start in funeral services has a long-reaching backstory. Years and years ago when I was just 10 or 11 years old, my parents were volunteer firefighters in Dutchess County, New York. Mom went down a more comprehensive path of getting her EMT certification and along with that came lots of medical books for her studies. I was fascinated with all the pictures inside and the anatomical diagrams of vessels, organ systems and schematics of what’s where inside our bodies. That sparked an interest in emergency medicine, because come on, what kid doesn’t love fire trucks, ambulances, lights and sirens? Down the road in my early 20s my mind adjusted its focus toward cemeteries, death and funerals. How does all THAT work? I got my first insurance license in 2005 and began selling life insurance. Day after day I was talking to people about being financially prepared for when they die. More and more I was hearing about how much funerals cost and cemeteries cost. So along with that, my curiosity continued to build and then my father died. 20 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 Eric S. Cahill (photo courtesy Veterans Funeral Care) On June 21, 2010, my father Dennis M. Cahill took his last breath at the VA Hospital in Tampa following a two-year battle with lung cancer. So now it’s up to me and my aunt (Dad’s sister) to do arrangements for him without any pre-arrangement and without any money set aside. In summary, my aunt took the lead. The direct disposer (never knew what that meant before) gave a level of “service” that earns a string of negative adjectives I’ll omit for right now. He is buried in a polished cultured marble urn at St. Joachim’s Cemetery in Beacon, New York, up on the hill in the military section. There is a picture of my dad’s headstone at my desk to remind me every day to do better for everyone else than was done for my dad. Started mortuary school at St. Petersburg College in 2012. Finished fast-track and graduated in 2014 as FD/E Intern. I’d been at my other funeral home and

YP Spotlight YP Spotlight cemetery for two years as a sales counselor. When I got my intern license, I went across the hall into the funeral directors’ office, which was shared by three of us. Then the doors really started opening for me to be creative with funeral planning and funeral services, seeing different cemeteries and being in the prep room more often. Embalm, embalm, embalm as much as possible and fast-forward to December 2018 when I joined the team at Veterans Funeral Care. Now having broken 40 years old, professional education is important and moving that knowledge ‘downstream’ to other, newer funeral directors is a motivator. We all know how much work this business really is, so it’ll likely be a while. Perhaps one day, I’ll be on the other side (owner) and have an enterprise with talented people to build and build the very best in funeral/ memorial services. Maybe, one day, I can set a tee time for somewhere around 0930 on a Thursday or perhaps do a brewery tour on Friday at noon.... Is that how owners get to do it? What are you proud of that you have achieved so far during your career in funeral service? I am proud of how far my career has developed in a somewhat short amount of time. You hear me mention “We have a finite amount of time” and “We can’t get back any, not one second, of time that’s passed.” I’ve Cahill presenting the flag to a widow when COVID-19 restrictions prevented Honor Guard ceremonies (photo courtesy Veterans Funeral Care) What is the most rewarding part of your occupation? The most rewarding part of this profession has several branches for me. First, bringing someone into the prep room, opening up their transport pouch and seeing them at their very, very worst motivates me to do the very best work for them and their family. Secondly, knowing that I can do all that needs to be done on the funeral planning and services side to earn the family’s trust and thanks when we part ways. When someone looks you in the eyes, tears flowing, and says, “Thank you for what you’ve done for my mom,” THAT’s powerful. What are your professional goals? I look down the road of ownership or education/consulting. Being up front keeps me feeling alive but I love to be embalming so much, too, which is private and solitary. gone from pre-need counselor at a combo facility to funeral director intern, embalming intern/trainee, funeral director, General Manager at a combo facility (200-call funeral home and 40-acre cemetery), to pre-need sales specialist (3rd party contractor), to freelance funeral director and funeral director/embalmer at THE premier veterans-focused funeral care location in the country... with my eyes and heart on bigger & better for myself and the team. I’ve done funerals for everyone from an E-1 Army private up to a major general in the Air Force. That’s a little something to be proud of. What are some important/notable trends that you have noticed in funeral service? While it’s not news to anyone anymore, the cremation rate continues to rise and accelerate. That trend, for me, is important/notable because embalming is my very most favorite part of this profession. Embalming IS the reason that I got into this profession almost 10 years ago. The rate of traditional funerals with embalmed persons is going down opposite the rise in cremation (direct cremation, specifically) and many adjustments need to be made at the funeral home level. We handle it very well and are able to maximize experience for our clients despite the actual dollar amount they spend. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 21

YP Spotlight YP Spotlight How do you spend your time outside of work? Is there anything in particular that you enjoy doing? Time outside of work? What? Huh? Funeral professionals have that? Bring these people to me at once! I demand to know where from they’re getting “time” outside of work. Setting some kidding aside, when I’m not at VFC I love to cook and really do anything in the kitchen, watch funeral-related videos online, visit local breweries, go to restaurants with my mom who lives in Dunedin, be outside and enjoy NOT having to wear a suit while outdoors in the middle of the day. Who or what inspires you? There are a string of moments and experiences that are a snapshot of the passion for why I do this. Most of this/these come from embalming and prep. When you are able to take someone who is thin, gray, sunken-in, dehydrated, not looking anywhere near like they normally did and, with time, discipline, good training and some finesse, they look just like the picture... that’s the grand slam. Challenge accepted. What do you value most about OGR? I’ve been a member of OGR for 2 years. I first met Nancy Weil very shortly after starting here at Veterans Funeral Care. Her enthusiasm along with sharing with me that there are professional development offerings through OGR peaked my interest to dig deeper. Coming from corporate-owned locations, being at an OGR network and independently owned location - what a BIG eye-opener. There really IS a different way of doing things for which nobody up the chain is going to question, argue, revise or disapprove. For lack of a better cliche, an OGR location really helped me to spread my wings, gain altitude and know there was a solid support system (great management team) if I was flying too close to the sun. Furthermore, the availability of other independently owned/managed locations from which to pull ideas, advice or perspective has impacted my experiences these last few years. What is your favorite OGR memory? The YP Summit event here in Clearwater/St. Pete back 22 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 Cahill (4th from right) and other OGR Young Professionals at a baseball game during the February 2020 YP Summit in Clearwater / St. Petersburg, Florida. (photo courtesy Peter Urban, Jr.) in February 2020. Between all the training, classes, group think, role-playing and business betterment segments, there were real moments of friendship and camaraderie that weekend. Dinners out, playing cornhole, staying up way too late down in the hotel restaurant and going to see a baseball game on a Chamber of Commerce caliber day really made for a three-day triple-play of great moments. The organization as a whole tries to ‘follow the Golden Rule.’ What other words do you try to live by? The Golden Rule has real power. Having more people pay attention to that out in the world would be greatly helpful for us all. Additional words to live by for me include: We have a finite and ever shrinking amount of time in this life. Do your best with the little less we have every day. Being halfway through my life at this point, it’s important to dedicate every week that I have to doing something good for people. High-quality funeral care is my medium to make their days (people who’ve had a loss) a little brighter, and for me it’s a way to make my parents proud.

Ignore at Your Own Risk by Nancy Weil OGR Member Resources Director W hen was the last time you took a look at your Google reviews? Have you ever taken a look? Have you even claimed your business so that you can respond to reviews as they are made? What about asking happy clients to post a review for your funeral home or cemetery? Based on what I have seen, most funeral homes and cemeteries are not making Google reviews a part of their business plan. As part of my job with OGR, I spend quite a bit of time looking up funeral homes and going to their websites. Most businesses have under 10 Google reviews. Even fewer respond to the posted reviews. The funeral home where I worked, Veterans Funeral Care, developed a plan to increase our Google reviews and in a matter of months, we went from 6 to over 75! What did we do? We asked. We responded. We worked our plan. Best of all, the reviews that were posted were personal and filled with staff names and details. This is what you want to have for your reviews as well. Here is a recent example of a review and “branded” response: 5-STAR REVIEW: “Everyone I spoke with here was empathetic yet professional. Blair helped me over the phone 24 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 so much as my father passed in Florida and I am stuck in Georgia due to the pandemic. I got great comfort knowing my Dad would be treated with the respect he deserved. If I could give 10 stars, I would.” RESPONSE FROM VETERANS FUNERAL CARE, AN OGR ENDORSED SUPPLIER: “Sherry, thanks so much for your kind words. Blair is a ‘Marine Corps’ son! So I’m thrilled when he takes care of a Navy daughter like you! This pandemic has been very stressful to our military families as the Military Honors have been delayed. Glad to have helped you. Please plan to come visit the cemetery when it is safe to travel and please, please stop in for a cup of coffee! We always have a fresh pot on. Jim Rudolph, Owner” Staff names, client name, military references, compassion, acknowledgement of the challenges that the pandemic has created and even an invitation to stop by for coffee! If you were looking for a funeral home and read this review, I doubt you would look any farther, especially if you came from a military family. There is, however, the other side of this and that is

the poor reviews that occur. When I see one and ask the owner of the funeral home what happened, most often the complaint was not founded, but it is out in the public domain anyway. This is where responding is imperative. Not to argue or defend, but to tactfully post your side of what happened and assure anyone reading the review that this is not how you do business. I read one that complained about errors with the funeral service and the owner responded by acknowledging their disappointment at this family’s experience and mentioning that the staff member who created the situation was no longer with the company. Finally, there is a side to Google reviews that you may not have considered and that is the “spam” reviews that have nothing to do with your company, but just someone using an open platform to share conspiracy theories, political platforms or “work from home and make millions of dollars” types of posts. This is what happened to one company who had a very low Google rating, which I could not understand as they provided outstanding service to their families. Upon closer inspection it became clear that none of the ratings had to do with the company, but just opportunists finding an unmonitored spot to share their nonsense and give 1- or 2-star ratings. Here is a sample of what was written: “The master plan has been in the works for many decades. To pull off something this huge, it cannot be done overnight. Currently we are in a psy ops drill… this is all mass deception in order to implement their plan.” And another one on the same site: “Each continent have these harps and also have satellites, they are interconnected here on earth, with satellites in the skies. haarp has the power to do whatever they want with nature, winds, rains, heat, cold, earthquakes and tsunami.” If you don’t want your business associated with conspiracy theorists, check your Google reviews regularly. Take control of what is posted about your company or someone else will. Email Nancy at NWeil@OGR.org to request a copy of what Veterans Funeral Care sends the families they serve asking that they leave Google Reviews. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 25

Supplier News OGR Welcomes 4 New Supply Partners BerylMartin Founded in 2000, BerylMartin is an art, design and digital print studio committed to providing our funeral service partners with the most stunning keepsake products available. We offer a wide variety of beautiful, personalized funeral memorial tributes and keepsakes including brochures, programs, prayer cards, thank you cards, portraits, casket panels and Fuzed glass and engraved crystal photo keepsakes. We also provide affordable printing and design services for our funeral service partners’ business needs. • first order is FREE (up to $350) • discounted flat-rate shipping • exclusive OGR packages discounted up to 20% off our lowest published prices Josh Weil JWeil@BerylMartin.com 219.922.8935 (office) 773.490.5178 (cell) BerylMartin.com Final Security Expand your pre-need offerings with digital estate planning. Digital estate planning with Final Security is about protecting your clients and their loved ones from cybercrime, ensuring their important files are found, and protecting their legacy. Our services and patent-pending processes include: Info Vault: Collect files, photos, passwords and more in our encrypted Info Vault to be transferred to a beneficiary. Device Cleaning: Registered devices will be wiped clean, ensuring they pass on only the information they want to share. Social Media & Cloud Cleaning: Managed deletion of registered social media accounts by a Final Security staff member. • 40% commission for any Life Level plan sold (current retail price $174.99) Christopher Huziak Partner@FinalSecurity.co 844.463.4625 FinalSecurity.co 26 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 INEX Inc. For over 20 years, INEX has been providing the deathcare industry with products that build your brand, create incremental revenue and deliver real value to your families. Closing Affairs is the most trusted executor toolkit in the industry, and it is available in three configurations to accommodate any aftercare model. In Case of Emergency is a preparedness tool that is ideal for motivating or rewarding a pre-arrangement. And Professional Processionals products increase the safety and respect of your processionals. • 10% off regular prices Closing Affairs Connected: $17.95 (original: $19.95) Closing Affairs: $26.95 (original: $29.95) In Case of Emergency: $22.45 (original: $24.95) 888.829.8362 info@INEXinc.com INEXinc.com Medi Air Purifier The Medi Air Purifier is a powerful machine utilizing complex and advanced technology to clean your home and funeral home, but is also designed to be extremely simple to operate. It can take any home or work environment and cleanse it of unhealthy contaminates, such as mold, dust, pollen and harmful pathogens, turning it into a clean, sanitized and healthy environment with just the click of a button. Relax with the peace of mind that you are breathing fresh, safe air, filtered by the most advanced technology on the market today. The Medi Air Purifier sanitizes not only the air, but all surfaces in your home and office as well, such as counters, carpets, appliances, cabinets and much more. The unit also exceeds the highest standards of quality and with regular cleaning will run smoothly and efficiently for many years. • $849 for a single unit ($650 off current list price of $1,499) • $799 for each unit when ordering two or more ($700 off current list price of $1,499) • Mention OGR when calling to get the discount Iam Hedendal 800.699.0960 MediAirPurifier.com

Contact your Dodge Representative or call Glass Remembrance at 877-876-6716

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! 28 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 USA West: 1-702-329-6677 USA East: 1-646-810-5748 www.skyways-media.com SKYWAYS M E D I A

Supplier News News from OGR’s Supplier Network Starmark introduces new Artisan series - The Artisan Cremation Container line offers high eye-appeal options at price points that resonate with cremation families and modest viewings, resulting in more body-present service upgrades. “An ever-increasing number of cremation families want to see the body again before cremation but most nice-looking cremation container products are priced too high to allow for cost-effective identification and private farewells,” said Starmark Cremation Products president Gerald Davis. The containers are available through nationwide Starmark distributors or may be ordered directly from the Starmark factory. Learn more at StarmarkCP.com. | OpusXenta introduces ‘byondcloud’ online marketplace - byondcloud delivers a highly scalable, cloud-based platform that streamlines how funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematoria manage bookings, track endowment funds, collect payments, manage grounds and services requests, and connect with other service providers such as masons. “We designed byondcloud to give death care providers a secure, for running their businesses efficiently,” Tony Lorge. cloud-based platform more said OpusXenta CEO “Funeral directors can now increase the level of service they provide by making cemetery and crematoria bookings directly—online.” | Johnson Consulting Group’s new sister company J3Tech Solutions announces next generation of Performance Tracker - This tool gives you actionable insights to see how your business, social media performance and bottom line will improve by moving customers to share their experience, moving your team to take action and moving your bottom line in the right direction. Overall, it’s designed to help you increase performance, boost customer sentiment and enhance your online reputation. Learn more and schedule a demo at GetPerformanceTracker.com. J3Tech was just launched in October FIND EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR FUNERAL HOMES • TRADE SERVICES • SUPPLIERS to bring an innovative tech-driven focus to the death care industry, creating user-friendly, intuitive and dynamic digital solutions. “Our goal through J3Tech is to create platforms that easily integrate into consumers’ everyday lives,” Johnson Consulting Group President & CEO Jake Johnson said. | Thumbies & Bass-Mollett announce partnership - OGR Endorsed Supplier Thumbies® Inc. announced Oct. 30 that they’re partnering with industry-leader Bass-Mollett Publishers. This strategic alliance will allow Bass-Mollett’s team of independent representatives to offer the Thumbies line of jewelry in their portfolio of products, supporting the needs of their funeral partners nationwide. | Federated Insurance appoints new CEO and COO - On Jan. 1, Michel G. Kerr took over as Federated’s new president and chief executive officer and Nicholas R. Lower was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer. The previous CEO, Jeff Fetters, voluntarily relinquished his role but will stay on as chairman. “It is with tremendous pride and complete confidence that we announce these important leadership changes,” Fetters said. “Mike Kerr and Nick Lower are proven leaders who breathe life into our organization’s mission each and every day. We have been tremendously fortunate to benefit from their contributions over the years and look forward to the future they will help shape for our company and clients.” | Foresight Companies announces Mark Kwosek as director of accounting - Chris Cruger, Chief Operating Officer and partner stated, “Our goal was to identify someone who has the skills and aligned with our vision to bring institutional excellence to our accounting services. We have faith that Mark can accomYour Real Source. Anywhere. Anytime www.nomispublications.com plish that.” As director of accounting, Mark will supervise Foresight’s rapidly growing business segment that provides accounting for the funeral and cemetery professions. He will also oversee the internal accounting needs for the company. www.ogr.org | The Independent® 29

Member Spotlight Member Spotlight Spotlight on Hoffen Funeral Home – Millstadt, Illinois Member Elle Heiligenstein is the owner of Hoffen Funeral Home, LLC in Millstadt, Illinois, and also serves as funeral director and embalmer. She shared her experiences with running a successful funeral home for the past six years. How did you get started in the funeral industry? I was a hair stylist and over time counseled many clients experiencing a loss. I felt a sense of satisfaction at helping these people and wanted to do more. I had always found the art and science of embalming interesting, so I decided to pursue my formal education in funeral service at the age of 40. What makes your funeral home unique? My funeral home is woman-owned and both of my apprentice funeral directors are women. We are heavily focused on community outreach. We deliver mealson-wheels to area seniors twice per week. We are a reasonably priced funeral home with premium level services. Locally, we are known as the house of Tiffany, due to the 19 Tiffany chandeliers that I installed in the funeral home last year. I began my career in funeral service at an OGR firm in St. Louis, Missouri. The owner was a mentor of mine and I saw how he followed the tenets of OGR on a daily basis. His motto was “Loving people and serving them, kindness always” and this really impacted me. I learned early on how being in an organization such as OGR was valuable as a guiding tool for the staff and also made the families feel at ease, knowing that an OGR firm was held to a higher standard. I thought then that if I ever had my own funeral home, I would try to become a member. Applying for OGR membership was the second thing I did after filling out the loan paperwork when I was buying my funeral home. The day Nancy Weil called to tell me I was approved was one of the best days of my career! 30 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 Elle Heiligenstein getting ready to deliver food with Meals on Wheels on Dec. 11, 2020. (photo courtesy Elle Heiligenstein) What is the most rewarding part of your occupation? When families tell me that they could not have gotten through the funeral service without our care and compassion, this is what makes all the sacrifices and hard work worth it. I am often told I make the process easy. I have never quite figured out what people mean by that, but it seems to me that they expect the arrangements and services to be stressful and complicated for them and are pleasantly surprised when we make things as seamless as possible.

Member Spotlight Member Spotlight Is there a specific moment or experience in your career that encapsulates your passion for what you do? Yes, I once had a cancer patient in my care that had lost a significant amount of weight and did not look anything like herself when she died. I asked the family for permission to restore her to an appearance prior to her illness and they were kind enough to trust me. I was able to make her appear healthy and beautiful for her visitation. The family was ecstatic at how well she looked. She had been a glamorous lady in life and loved having her hair and make-up done, so this was extra special considering she hadn’t been looking like herself for months. The family befriended me after the funeral and we now regularly see each other as good friends. Who or what inspires you? I am inspired daily by the holy spirit and the works of St. Vincent DePaul. My funeral home is one of the few, if not the only one in the area that regularly cares for the poor without hesitation. We do a lot of charity work in the community as well. What are some important/ notable trends that you have noticed in the funeral industry? The influx of women in funeral service is very inspiring for me. I am also seeing a tremendous amount of broadcast services across the internet since the pandemic began. My funeral home recently began professional webcasting of our services with great reception. Cremation is definitely on the rise and many families are choosing it for simplicity rather than cost. Many times I will have families come in and request a direct cremation My membership in OGR has enabled me to live and work by the 11 tenets of OGR. I am reminded daily to care for others as I would want to be cared for. Being a new owner and not from the community where my funeral home is located, my membership has lent me some additional credibility among the people who live here. I regularly market my funeral home as a member of OGR. but still purchase quite a lot of memorial merchandise, so we are offering more retail items than ever before. How long have you been a member of OGR? About two years. How has being an OGR member impacted your experience in the funeral industry? Hoffen Funeral Home markets their OGR membership on the digital marquee outside their location in Millstadt, Ill. (photo courtesy Elle Heiligenstein) www.ogr.org | The Independent® 31

Member Spotlight Member Spotlight What has been your favorite moment with OGR? Finding out we were approved for membership! I was so honored! How do you spend your time outside of work? Is there anything in particular you enjoy doing? I am an avid reader and I also enjoy cooking, and exercising on my treadmill. I am a devoted pet parent and care for my dogs and cats. I enjoy traveling when I can, especially to Cannon Beach, Oregon, our second home. OGR tries to ‘follow the Golden Rule.’ What other words do you try to live by? It is better to give than to receive. God will take care of A Tiffany chandelier hanging in Hoffen Funeral Home’s location in Millstadt, Ill. (photo courtesy Elle Heiligenstein) you if you do His will. If you can dream it, you can do it! Thoughts create things! God is good all the time! 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 Alyssa Castille at acastille@ogr.org to get your funeral home’s custom link. 32 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021

OGR Foundation OGR Foundation Applications Now Being Accepted for OGR Foundation Scholarships By Evan Hoffmeyer, OGR Communications Director The Order of the Golden Rule Foundation is now accepting applications for its 2021 Awards of Excellence Scholarship Program. Scholarships are available for anyone meeting the following criteria: • be currently enrolled in a mortuary science degree program at an ABFSE-accredited mortuary school; • be scheduled to graduate in the 2021 calendar year; • have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; • be involved in community service activities and school activities; • demonstrate excellence in the pursuit of knowledge in mortuary science; and • commit to working for an independently owned funeral home. All applicants must also submit an essay describing their commitment to serving grieving families with compassion, fairness and dignity. “I want to pour myself wholeheartedly to the funeral profession, and the families that I will serve,” said Natalie Brahm. She was a student at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Wisconsin and a recipient of OGR’s 2020 Silver Award of Excellence. “I want to make a difference in my community and make the world a bit better just from being in it. I will desperately seek to provide each family I serve with the opportunity to feel supported, understood and able to give their loved one the service they desire.” Submissions are accepted through the OGR website at OGR.org/Scholarship. All application materials are due Friday, March 5. One of the Foundation’s biggest fundraisers each year is the silent auction at OGR’s Annual Conference. Without that normal injection of funds, OGR is asking its members to pitch in to help fund this essential program. The Order of the Golden Rule Foundation is a tax-exempt charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, which means your contribution is tax deductible as a charitable donation. Contributions may be made in honor of, or in memory of an individual. Contributors may specify an address to which the Foundation will mail a card acknowledging the donation in a person’s name. All contributions are also acknowledged in the next issue of The Independent as well as on our new Tribute Wall at OGR.org. After working as a local journalist for 12 years, Evan joined the team at OGR in June 2020. He is excited to bring his expertise in media and government relations, public policy, and content marketing to his work in this new arena. Learn more about the Foundation’s work and make a tax-deductible donation at OGR.org/Charitable-Foundation Natalie Brahm www.ogr.org | The Independent® 33

Member News Member News News from Golden Rule Funeral Homes Plummer Funeral Home & Cremation Services marks 80 years in business McClary marks 40 years as a Licensed Funeral Director Gregory McClary from OGR member firm Chapel of the Chimes marked 40 years as a licensed funeral director and embalmer on Dec. 3! He said of the occassion, “From at the early age of nine years old I knew my calling. Today I stand not regretting the challenges. With God’s help I will continue to run this race to serve.” Over the years, he has been licensed in South Carolina, Michigan, Indiana and New York. Congratulations to OGR member Plummer Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Litchfield, Illinois, as they marked 80 years in business the first week of December. OGR has been proud to call them members for nearly 30 years of that time. Current owner Terry Plummer purchased the funeral home - originally known as Ross-Becker - in 1985, and is the only hometown owned & operated funeral home in Litchfield. Morehead celebrates 60 yrs at Bennett Funeral Home Congratulations to Charles D. Morehead as he marked 60 years with OGR member firm A.W. Bennett Funeral Home in Virginia on Nov. 21! Under Morehead’s leadership, Bennett has grown from a one-location funeral home in 1983 to a four-location operation in 2003. He has served as president, treasurer and general manager since 1993. 34 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 Jose celebrates 35 years of marriage Raffy and his wife Marichi “Chi” Jose celebrated 35 years of marriage in December. When we asked how he views 35 years of marriage and friendship, he said, “Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.”

Above & Beyond Above & Beyond MEET THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE OGR FAMILY Proud parents Peter and Kelly Urban are happy to announce the birth of their son Peter Andrew Urban, III. Born December 3 at 10:46 a.m., Peter weighed 8 lbs, 9 oz. and measured 21 inches long. He is the couple’s second child, joining big sister Meredith at home. Celebrating Milestone Anniversaries — January, February & March — 45 years | March 1976 Anderson Funeral Cremation Services Belvidere, IL 45 years | March 1976 Schuyler Hill Funeral Home Bronx, NY 35 years | March 1986 Kolssak Funeral Home, Ltd. Wheeling, IL 25 years | February 1996 Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home, Inc. Lebanon, TN 20 years | February 2001 Morton’s Mortuary, Inc. Bridgeport, CT ®

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. Russell Colonial Funeral Home, Inc. Saint Clair, Missouri Russell Funeral Home is a wonderful, warm facility for a funeral. They attend to every detail. My mom had been in a nursing home prior to her death. She had lost a lot of weight – to the point that I hardly recognized her. Nancy did such an amazing job of making my mom look beautiful. Russell Funeral Home staff are such caring people who strive to make a difficult time bearable. Thank you so much for all you did for me and my family. Schoppenhorst, Underwood & Brooks Funeral Home, Inc. Shepherdsville, Kentucky We have been to the funeral home many times with friends, but never for our own family member. We have always found the staff to be incredibly kind and thoughtful. The funeral director was very knowledgeable, compassionate, and thorough. He was always ready and able to answer questions and worked with us to the best of his ability on everything. The service, visitation, and ceremony went very well. I felt like my dad was properly honored and everything was done in an orderly manner. I have never been through this process before, so I had no idea what to expect. Everything was done very respectfully and with so much compassion. We were very pleased and thankful for the services provided to us. Wenner Funeral Home Cold Spring, Minnesota I could not have asked for more genuine kindness, compassion, and attention to detail. The support and guidance through this difficult time was outstanding. 36 www.ogr.org | Winter 2021 FAMILY CONTACT THE GOLDEN RULE Above & Beyond There was not a single detail missed! The funeral director was so attentive, patient, understanding, and very professional. He made asking questions very easy and clearly answered all of them. Above and beyond care was given to my mother’s body as well as the service. We were able to make arrangements as appropriate with the times. The director gave us great suggestions and guidance. There is nothing I would change about the funeral and other decisions we made. Harrod Brothers Funeral Home Frankfort, Kentucky The staff at Harrod Funeral Home was amazing! They were all very kind, compassionate, very professional but still personal. Our family wishes were priority and carried out to the fullest extent possible. Our loved one as well as ourselves were treated with dignity and respect. The funeral director was very accommodating and patient with us while we worked out every detail (not making us feel rushed at all). He is top notch as is all the staff. An excellent job was done preparing my uncle for the viewing so that the limited attendance (due to COVID precautions) of his closest friends and family could say goodbye. They helped us display pictures to honor my uncle’s life. We felt so very blessed! 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.

YP Spotlight YP Spotlight In Memoriam Remembering Family and Friends Robert “Braeden” Patton Combs June 1, 2001 – November 10, 2019 Grandson of OGR Members Jerry & Marilyn Patton Patton Funeral Home Brownsville, KY H. Vann Davis, III February 23, 1965 – September 27, 2020 Founding principal of OGR Member firm Davis Funeral Service Brownsville, KY Betty J. Farmer May 28, 1950 – November 4, 2020 Mother of OGR Member Shaun P. Farmer Farmer & Son Funeral Home Geneva, NE Bobby M. Proffitt November 23, 1930 – May 2, 2020 Funeral Director, Embalmer and OGR Member Patton Funeral Home Brownsville, KY Margaret “Maggie” Rowland 1939 – December 15, 2019 OGR Member Wife of OGR Member Tony Rowland Rowland Brothers International West Croydon, Surrey, UK Muriel Anne Kathleen Rowland 1917 – December 20, 2019 OGR Member Mother of OGR Member Tony Rowland Rowland Brothers International West Croydon, Surrey, UK www.ogr.org | The Independent® ® 37

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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® 39

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 2020 Awards: Call for Nominations Golden Light Award The OGR Golden Light Award, now in its 17th year, honors an individual (not a firm) who has made specific, meritorious contributions to society through his or her profession, community or field of voluntary service as career achievements. Golden Rule Community Service Award The Golden Rule Community Service Award recognizes a firm for outstanding service to the community during the 2020 calendar year. Members are encouraged to submit their own firms. To qualify, nominated firms must: • be an OGR Member Firm in good standing; • supply support materials as evidence of the activity or service, such as press clippings, letters of thanks, testimonials, photos, or governmental citations; and • not have won this award in the past three years. Sumbit your nominations at OGR.org/Awards Each winner will receive an engraved award and acknowledgement during a ceremony in 2021, in The Independent® and on the OGR website. Submissions must be received by February 14, 2021. Questions may be sent to Adeline Border at (800) 637-8030 ext. 189 or ABorder@OGR.org.

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