Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust Awards Hardship Grant to Victim of Devastating Tornado

June 27, 2011
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Deerfield, Ill. – June 24, 2011 – Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust has awarded its second Hardship Grant of 2011 to Selected Member E. E. Pickle Funeral Home of Amory, Miss., in the amount of $8,000. The funds will be used to continue serving families after the funeral home was destroyed during a tornado on April 27, 2011.

Robert Pickle, funeral director and embalmer at E.E. Pickle, contacted Selected in early May regarding the damage the funeral home sustained during the storm and applied for the hardship grant. Although the funeral home was completely destroyed, Pickle and the rest of the staff knew it was important to continue helping the community. Of the 15 lives lost in the storm, E.E. Pickle Funeral Home was able to perform services for 13 of the families.

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Upon hearing the news, Executive Director Rob Paterkiewicz reached out to the funeral home directly. Once it received the application, the Board of Trustees promptly granted the award to E.E. Pickle Funeral Home.

“Through all the devastation and loss of very precious lives in seemingly an instant, it was comforting to see how all the people and organizations from near and far reached out to help the families of Smithville,” said Pickle. “This loving, unselfish, can-do attitude of Small-town USA was quickly very apparent and very humbling as were the outpouring of donations of time, equipment, materials, clothing, shelter and financial support.”

“This is precisely the reason the Trust exists and raises funds – so that we can assist independent funeral homes in their time of need,” said Paterkiewicz. “A funeral home represents a unique type of business that, similar to a hospital or school, is a vital community resource that must remain operational. We’re hoping that these funds helped bridge the gap in operational out-of-pocket expenses so that E.E. Pickle could continue serving their families and the surrounding community,” he added.

Pickle also plans to remember those who were lost in the tragedy. “Because lives cannot be replaced, our plans are to remember those who died from the tornado with a plaque that will be placed in a memorial garden when the Smithville location is rebuilt,” he shares. “In addition, we will remember my grandfather, Guy R. Pickle, and my father, G. Warren Pickle, as they were instrumental in starting the funeral home in Smithville and for its success since opening 25 years ago.”

E.E. Pickle Funeral Home is the second applicant to be awarded the Hardship Grant since the program was created a year ago. The Trust plans to award up to two grants per year going forward.

The Hardship Grant is one of several programs of the Selected Educational Trust which was founded by Selected Independent Funeral Homes, a worldwide professional association of independent, locally-owned funeral homes founded in 1917. Any independently-owned and operated funeral home that has been adversely affected by a natural disaster, fire or flood is eligible to apply for the Hardship Grant, which is to be used to pay for operating expenses not covered by insurance and/or other needs as identified by the applicant.

When applying, the funeral home must be able to fully demonstrate its need for the Hardship Grant by supplying financial information pertaining to the operations affected along with anticipated insurance coverage. Membership in Selected Independent Funeral Homes is not a requirement. A grant recipient is only able to receive the grant once in a twelve-month period, and once per event.

Editor’s Note: Photos of the damages sustained by E.E. Pickle Funeral Home are available upon request. Please contact Lisa Gunggoll at lgunggoll@lg-pr.com.

About Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust: The Selected Educational Trust was established in 1982 as a charitable organization to develop and present educational programs on business management, counseling, personnel management and other topics of interest to the membership of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. Since then, it has expanded its role and funding opportunities to benefit the entire funeral home profession. More information on the Selected Educational Trust and its activities can be found on its all-new website at http://www.selectedtrust.org.

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