Mark My Words

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Caring for Veterans and Their Families

Posted by Mark Pennington on July 1, 2017

  We are experiencing a confluence of events that bring the importance of veterans funeral care to the forefront, the last of the World War II soldiers, the bulk of those who served in Korea, the end of the “draft,” and the heroes of Viet Nam who served amid the nation’s bitter controversy. Now the families of the men AND women of today’s multiple conflicts look to their community funeral directors for care and guidance.

  There are many questions which military families should be asking and getting answered. The funeral director who actively seeks to become a resource for veterans and their extended families will be one who grows his business. I’m familiar with a funeral home doing around 100 plus calls per year who added 80 more calls by aligning themselves with a veterans’ funeral care program. This is definitely an area of growth and one that deserves examination and assessment.

  While most everyone confirms. “Yes, we do veterans’ funerals,” how many can expertly guide a family through the proper protocol, explain burial benefits, read a DD214 correctly, acknowledge various military commendations and service awards properly, and assist with additional “hidden benefits” that the veteran and family members may be entitled to? (More about this below.) Lip service is one thing, positive action, quite another. Additional information can be obtained directly by contacting local American Legion/VFW Posts.

  Successful firms align themselves with an organization who specializes in providing information on how to serve military families. If you can’t spare the time to investigate these organizations yourself, assign a team member to do so. Working with a firm such as this can be a powerful marketing tool. Not only can you provide the expertise and support required for a military funeral, but your association could exclude other area funeral directors from enjoying a similar relationship. Some of these organizations even provide identification that singles out your funeral home as experts in serving military families. Enlisting a group like this will add calls…but you must “walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”

  After living through times when being a vet was fodder for scorn, or for those suffering unrecognized ailments and mental challenges, we’re finally hearing “Thank you for your service,” from people in all walks of life. Honor this welcome change by truly serving them. Find out about “hidden benefits” the US government offers when you dig for them – insurance and health benefits, disability awards, help with caregiver services, programs for children of vets – there are literally dozens of programs designed for both vets and their survivors. It’s nearly impossible to even discover all that’s available much less getting them to work for you, and that’s where these special organizations become invaluable. They have the expertise, experience and patience to assist you in doing what you pledge to do, honor vets and their families in a meaningful way. You can become a liaison for veterans and their families by simply exploring the resources available to you from these industry groups. Be the community resource for military families by providing knowledge, contacts, and support. Demonstrating this deep respect for their service and sacrifices will place your firm in a preferential position when the time for selection arrives for the veteran and extended family.


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