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

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