December 2021

Page A35 DECEMBER 2021 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A MUSIC CITY National Funeral Directors Association International Convention & Expo Nashville, Tennessee — October 17-20, 2021 2021 NFDA Convention Highlights NFDA Policy Board 2021 NFDA International Convention & Expo: Reunited and It Felt So Good BROOKFIELD,WI— After a hiatus in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Funeral Direc- tors Association International Convention & Expo was back. The convention, which took place, October 17-20 in Nashville, TN gave funeral service profession- als a chance to reunite with colleagues, reexplore what it means to serve families, and renew their professional pas- sion through unrivalled opportunities for learning, net- working, and discovering new products and services. The 2021 NFDA Convention drew 5,052 total attendees (3,316 attendees and 2,021 exhibitor representatives). A to- tal of 76 international attendees, representing 13 countries and territories, participated in the 2021 NFDA Conven- tion. The Expo Hall featured 323 exhibiting companies. The NFDA convention proved to be an impactful ex- perience for all who were able to attend. To help attend- ees build upon their foundation of skills, NFDA offered more than 30 engaging education sessions that addressed technical skills; business management; the value of cere- mony; marketing and community outreach; grief and be- reavement; and more. The sessions offered tangible take- aways to help funeral professionals better understand the evolving needs of families and build thriving businesses. The Expo Hall was a highlight for many attendees be- cause, in addition to connecting with their valued sup- plier partners, they also discovered new products and ser- vices they can offer to families in their communities. Attendees also explored a variety of other special areas in the Expo Hall. In the Salute to Service Pavilion, at- tendees learned about benefits available to veterans. They also learned more about the Journey to Serve initiative, which is designed to connect military veterans with careers throughout the funeral service profession. The Funeral Service Foundation offers this profession-wide initiative in partnership with the ICCFA Educational Foundation. Funeral professionals discovered the benefits a therapy dog can bring to their firm – and met puppies-in-training – in the Pause for Paws booth, sponsored by Thumb- ies and Ultimate Canine . Attendees took a step into the future in the Virtual Reality Technology Lounge, spon- sored by Physicians Mutual. Whether attendees donned a cowboy hat and did a two- step to up-and-coming country band Runaway June dur- ing the lively Welcome Party on the streets of Nashville (sponsored by Batesville and , explored ex- citing Broadway Street at the Funeral Under 40 Party at Nashville Underground, or learned how to line dance during the closing celebration at the legendary Wild- horse Saloon, attendees had many opportunities to net- work and have fun with colleagues and friends. Giving Hearts Seventeen volunteers shared their time and talents with Habitat for Humanity – Williamson-Maury Counties. This year’s volunteers worked on a home that was being built for Searria Peoples, a single mother of four, in Co- lumbia, TN about 50 miles south of Nashville. NFDA volunteers got to meet Peoples and work side-by-side with her on her five-bedroom, two-bath home. Thanks, in part, to the generosity of NFDA volunteers, Peoples will soon realize her American dream of home ownership. NFDA thanks donors to and sponsors of its Habitat for Hu- manity volunteer effort in Nashville: Keeney & Basford Fu- neral Home, Nomis Publications Inc., Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home, Nicodemus &Associates, Cooperative Fu- neral Fund and Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions. Honoring the Care and Compassion of Funeral Directors A highlight of the 2021 NFDA Convention was the Service of Remembrance. Every day, funeral directors an- swer the call to be caring, compassionate guides to fami- lies that are beginning their grief journeys. During this years’ service, NFDA was honored to be joined by sing- er-songwriter Brad Warren, who experienced the sudden death of his son, Sage Warren, to an overdose last year. Warren spoke of the caring funeral service professionals who served his family and helped them honor the life of his son in a beautiful and meaningful way. BradWarren was lat- er joined on stage by his brother Brett Warren and, together, they performed the song, “ If You’re Reading This,” which has been played at many military funerals. Brad and Brett War- ren co-wrote the song with the legendary Tim McGraw. Attendees were also treated to a special video message from Vince Gill, who performed “Go Rest High on that Mountain” during the Service of Remembrance at the 2014 NFDA Convention. Gill was joined in the video by his wife, Amy Grant, and, together, they thanked funeral professionals for they extraordinary care and kindness they have shown, not just during the pandemic, but always. As NFDA paid tribute to the essential role of funeral directors in grief and healing it also honored members of the NFDA family who died this past year. During the Service of Remembrance, a collection was taken up for Alive Hospice in Nashville. Through the generosity of convention attendees, $1,882 was donat- ed to the organization. NFDA Honors Funeral Service All Stars During the All-Star Recognition Ceremony, NFDA recognized funeral professionals who, in 2020 or 2021, earned their NFDA Cremation Certification; NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultant designation; or their Certified Funeral Service Practitioner designation from the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. NFDA also honored recipients of a Foundation ’45 scholarship or award from the Funeral Service Founda- tion and participants in NFDA’s new National Emerging Leaders Program. Additionally, NFDA paid tribute to the funeral homes that are Green Funeral Practice Certificate holders and Pursuit of Excellence Award recipients – including the Best of the Best Award winners, the recipient of the Richard Myers Pinnacle Award and H all of Excellence inductees – Cooperative Funeral Fund Volunteers Work Alongside Habitat for Humanity for the NFDA’s Annual Convention NASHVILLE,TN— Vol- unteers from Cooperative Funeral Fund, Inc (CFF) worked with the William- son-Maury counties Habi- tat for Humanity in Nash- ville ( to build a home for a local family in need. The event was orchestrated by the NFDA in conjunction with its annual convention in Nashville. “CFF is happy to work alongside Habitat for Hu- manity in Nashville to help make a difference. CFF will continue to join NFDA in its annual Habitat for Hu- manity build event.” said Mark Mannix, founder and CEO of CFF. Financial and volun- teer support allows Habi- tat for Humanity to serve families that are in need of safe, affordable housing options. Habitat for Hu- manity provides home- owners with an affordable mortgage where they earn 250 hours of “sweat equi- ty” through educational programs, volunteering at the resale Store or partici- pating in the construction program. Habitat for Hu- manity of Williamson and Maury counties (HFH- WM) has built more than 250 homes in the counties. The future owner of the home was alongside the workers. She is a single mother of four children and was very appreciative, “Your kind hearts and pas- sion for what you do will always be remembered. Without you, owning a home would be a greater challenge for my family.” The Habitat build was a great way to service the community while building lasting relationships with fellow NFDA exhibitors and attendees. CFF manages the invest- ment, accounting, com- pliance and payout of pr- eneed and cemetery care funds. The company is reg- istered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission as an Invest- ment Advisor and manages over 550 million dollars in assets for over 1,000 death care clients. For more in- formation, contact Wen- dy Harris directly at 800- 336-1102, email Wendy. or visit www.CooperativeFuneral- Continued on page A36