Business

Neither snow nor rain nor heat. . . . .

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  That is the motto or creed of the United States Postal Service that serves every address in the United States.  The department has came under fire lately for the costs it accrues in keeping that creed. . . .but that is another topic for another time.

Today, we are going to touch on keeping that motto or creed intact.  Except we are not going to be talking about the U.S. Postal Department, but those in funeral service who seem to serve by the same model.

I’m guessing that it is sometimes interesting to know how I get my topics to write about.  For fifteen years, I didn’t start until I was 47 years old, I have been running a three mile route three to five times per week.  When I was working I did this late afternoons, but in retirement, I get up in the morning, do a little devotion and Bible study, and then take about 55 minutes for a stretching and running routine.  I’ve learned to really enjoy it and miss it if other scheduling priorities knock me off schedule.

However, this summer, I have came down with a self-diagnosed case of plantar fasciitis on my left foot.  I somewhat blame it on COVID-19 as when I needed a new pair of running shoes this Spring I put off going to a store in person to get fitted correctly and just ran with my old worn down shoes.  I am recovering and should be back to running soon. . . . I’ve even got the new pair of shoes that are waiting and ready to go as soon as my foot heals.

So, in the meantime, I have taken to biking several miles each morning instead of running – it is just easier on my foot – . . . and today being Saturday, my route took me from my home in the southwest part of our little city through the downtown area, onto a bike trail, and through our large cemetery, Kinkead Cemetery, on my way back home.

When I turned into the cemetery I noticed the familiar Wilbert Vault truck preparing a burial vault for a Saturday service.  Now, I served this cemetery for 35 years as a funeral director and got to know all of the Wilbert drivers very well. . . . and many times I would stay at the cemetery, like a lot of funeral directors, and help in sealing the vault after the interment.

I’ve been out of active funeral service for going on 7 years but it was great to see one of my old friends from the vault company.  We visited for a few minutes, I asked how business was going, and told him to say hello back at the plant to some of the great Wilbert employees that I had the pleasure to know and work with over the years.  Then it was back on the bike to finish the trip home.

During the end of my ride, I thought about the Wilbert service that was provided to our funeral home over the years.  Never once did they fail to produce what we had hired them to do for a funeral service. . . . temperatures way below zero, snowstorms, rain and hail. . . their plant was over 40 miles from Kinkead Cemetery and they always showed up.  Unbelievable customer service was why we always called them. Their drivers were even trained in how to get a skunk, or raccoon, or badger, who had inadvertently fell into the grave, out of it before the family showed up.

While our local Wilbert Vault Company’s customer service would certainly attain the highest possible J.D. Power rating in my book, I also realized that in the death care community they were not alone in coming through every time while serving independent funeral homes.  I thought of our large casket company suppliers who both had warehouses over 100 miles away from us — they never failed to deliver a casket within 24 hours right to our doorstep, and our gravediggers who prepared the graves for the Wilbert employees work, or Inman Shipping services who helped us with deaths out of state, or the suppliers that sent us special order urns or urn vaults.  Quite frankly, when you think about it. . . . .maybe more than any other profession. . . the death care profession and their suppliers knows what is riding on the timely execution of a client family’s wishes.

The amazing part is, death care comes through virtually every time.  And, we are continuing to prove it through our nation’s battle with COVID-19.  While our nation disagrees about masks or no masks, school or no school, and we seem to have disjointed politics as usual in Washington, DC. . . . . our death care profession and suppliers just goes about making life a little easier for those who are suffering loss.

Maybe our nation should try doing what death care professionals already know. . . . . it’s about how you help others that really matters!!

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