One of the great things in being part of the funeral, cremation, cemetery, and its supply business is that, as you work in it over time, you realize that it is a pretty small professional world and you get to know lots of people and lots of companies in the realm. Also, you realize that whatever “it” is, we always seem to be in “it” together.
Finally, you realize that one of the commonalities in the business is the propensity of the people in it to do what is right to help our community, our state, and our nation. To that tune, I dedicate today’s article which deals with two companies in our profession that I recently noticed have shifted what they are doing in order to help our nation and its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First of all, I will tell you of Matthews International and their shift to producing retail facemasks for the protection of retail workers in America. Matthews International, based in Pittsburgh, is a large public company with 2019 fiscal year sales of over $1.5 billion and a market capitalization of over $737 million. They operate three distinctive segments of business, however, most in the death care profession would know them for their Matthews cremation unit, their Matthews Bronze unit, and/or their Matthews Aurora solutions business.
They also operate a business segment under the title of SGK Brand Solutions and it is that unit that is using their IDL agency in Butler, Pennsylvania to “produce a unique two-piece face shield designed to assist the unsung heroes of COVID-19 — retail-industry service workers at the front lines of essential businesses such as grocery, pharmacy and convenience stores, quick service restaurants and delivery services.
Peter Beck, head of IDL commented, “When IDL first opened our doors as a small printer in 1943, we assisted the U.S. Military during WWII by applying our production expertise to label first aid kits and other military supplies. We’re honored to continue the tradition of assisting in times of need by finding new and useful ways to create meaningful experiences that affect the way human beings engage in retail environments.”
You can read a press release on the Matthews International/IDL Face Shield support here
Here is a short video on Matthews International Memorialization unit.
It was also brought to our attention that funeralOne was working to alleviate personal protection equipment shortages to funeral directors by manufacturing reusable acrylic face shields for funeral directors. According to this press release from the National Funeral Directors Association web-site, the funeralOne “design center has 15 people working, social-distancing from each other, to create a factory line”.
According to funeralOne CEO and founder Joe Joachim, “Once we heard funeral directors were last in line to get personal protective equipment, we retooled our new, as of yet not open, design center. We have millions of dollars worth of equipment there, so we realigned our priorities the second I heard people were going without stuff.”
According to Joachim, “If a firm needs more masks, they can leave a comment and we’ll make sure they are taken care of.”
You can place an order for a face shield here
Here is the web-site for funeralOne
So, there you have. Two of our own helping make a difference in America today. It’s not so surprising. . . being a funeral director has always been about “people helping people.”
More news from the world of death care:
- InvoCare is looking to raise $150 million. Video and story. Finance News Network (Australia)
- Obituary: Harry Nelson. Gaylord (MI) Herald Times
- New Jersey parks refrigerated trucks in Newark to store bodies as COVID-19 deaths mount. NJ.com (NJ)
- Sobering photos reveal how countries are dealing with the dead left by the coronavirus pandemic. Business Insider
- Omaha funeral director heads to New York to help with surge in deaths during coronavirus outbreak. Omaha World-Herald (NE)