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

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