NFDA President-Elect candidate parallels Military and Mortuary service

Fate determined that this was meant to be an article for Funeral Director Daily.  I’m very familiar with the “Journey to Serve” program launched by the Funeral Service Foundation and the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) Educational Foundation, in part,  through the work of my friend Jim Price.

The other day I noticed this article from the Employee Benefits News entitled “Why this organization is recruiting veterans into the funeral service industry”.  When I saw the article I knew that it had to be about “Journey to Serve” so I clicked it open and read it.

The article was exactly what I thought it was but it also featured someone that I did not know — Douglas Nie — a military veteran and funeral director from Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Turns out that Nie is a big advocate for “Journey to Serve” and served on the NFDA Board which is affiliated with the Funeral Service Foundation. . and thus affiliated with, “Journey to Serve“.

In the article Nie mentions many attributes of being in the United States military service that parallel with service as a funeral director.  For instance, he states, “. . A lot of things taught in the military – like tradition, honor, and respect — are the main ideals in funeral service.”  Nie also mentions that being a funeral director can encompass  “. .mentally taxing subject matter to the physically taxing hours, funeral service work is challenging — but in ways veterans are prepared to handle“.

Finally, Nie notes “that his team looks at each family they serve as a mission, where it takes teamwork, communication and clear objectives to successfully complete. Whether it’s ensuring the casket is safely moved from the funeral home to the church service and then to the cemetery, or taking into account that familial requests are met with care, funeral service professionals have a mountain of logistics to juggle —  (which is) a familiar headspace for any veteran”.

Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

Virtually everything Nie mentioned in the article rang home to me. . . . including the idea of funeral directors organizing and completing many logistics to successfully complete a funeral service. . . .much like the logistics that need to be organized to successfully complete military missions.  It’s just another facet that is “similar headspace” to both funeral directors and military veterans alike.

I’m convinced that “Journey to Serve” is on the right track and people like Nie can help the program get traction.  There’s 200,000 veterans leaving active duty each year. . .many looking at a “What’s next” decision.  And, funeral service has seemingly an overwhelmingly shortfall of professional employees just as we are looking into an upcoming age demographic which should produce more deaths annually.

Funeral directors around the country need to be aware of “Journey to Serve” for those times that you may come in contact with a member of the military service looking at mustering out soon.  You may be very helpful to that person by letting them know of “Journey to Serve” as they may have many of the traits necessary to be successful in the death care realm.

Here is the “Journey to Serve” website.

So, why was this article “destined through fate” to become an article for Funeral Director Daily?  Turns out that on the same day that I saw the “Journey to Serve”  article I received an e-mail from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) informing me of a message from one of its candidates for President-Elect of NFDA.  To my surprise, that message was from candidate Douglas “Dutch” Nie. . . . . the person I had just read about . . . and was impressed with. . . .I had no idea!

Here’s a link from the NFDA about the candidates for President-Elect.

Here is a link to the Nie Family Funeral Home website.

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