New Year Brings New Winners of Second-Career Scholarship from Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust
DEERFIELD, ILL. — January 12, 2015 — Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust has announced two new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Elva “Elle” Heiligenstein of Bellevillle, Ill., and Sheila Wilmore-Butler of Bonaire, Ga. The scholarship was created to meet the educational needs of the increasing number of second-career professionals entering independent funeral service seeking positions as funeral directors and future leaders. Richard Tetrick, President, Heritage Family Funeral Services, Inc., made a significant donation to the Selected Educational Trust on behalf of his late father Donald W. Tetrick, to support the Trust’s Lifelong Learning program. According to Tetrick, “My Dad truly believed in funeral service education and that funeral service could always be improved by having well educated professionals.”
Heiligenstein has been chosen by the Trust as the first of five Donald W. Tetrick Second Career Scholarship Award recipients to be awarded over the next two and a half years. Heiligenstein attends Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., where she is expected to graduate in May, 2016. After spending 17 years in the cosmetology industry, she was called to funeral service following the death of her grandparents and after successfully counseling numerous clients through their grief experiences. She wrote an article that appeared in The Director magazine in April, 2014 for those who may be contemplating making a career change into funeral service and to explain her own calling to the profession.
“Being chosen for this scholarship not only validates my hard work and determination to become a funeral director later in my life, but more importantly, I believe that this scholarship speaks to those who have been discouraged by the feeling that they are too old to return to college, are somehow not as deserving as someone with a familial legacy or those who have been discouraged by the simple fear of the unknown,” Heiligenstein said. “I am living proof that regardless of the challenges that life may give you, if you feel the call to this noble profession, you will find a way to answer it, and you will answer it well!”
Wilmore-Butler is currently enrolled in the Funeral Service program at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Ga. She has been in the medical field for 26 years and currently works full-time as a nurse practitioner. Since she was a little girl, she always had an interest in the funeral service industry. She decided to make her dream a reality after the death of her father in April, 2009.
“This award means that someone cares enough to invest in my dream of working in the funeral industry as a second career,” she said. “I am a firm believer that every accomplishment starts with the personal decision to try. Hard work, faith as well as perseverance follows and God will allow all the pieces to fit into their perfect place while bringing the right people in your life. I am so Thankful for this blessing to help me achieve this milestone in my life.”
Both recipients have demonstrated financial need and outstanding personal references in applying for the scholarship. In order to be eligible, scholarship applicants must not be related to an owner of a funeral firm currently in operation and must be currently enrolled in a full-time Mortuary Science program at an accredited school.
Since the award was first launched in late 2010, the Board of Trustees has awarded 17 scholarships to deserving individuals seeking a career in funeral service. More information on scholarship parameters, as well as the official application and complete list of previous winners is available at http://www.selectedtrust.org/second-career-scholarship.html. The Second-Career Scholarship 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. By creating the program, the Trust hopes to attract and assist future practitioners interested in entering the profession. More information on the Selected Educational Trust and its activities can be found at www.selectedtrust.org.
Editor’s Note: For more information or to request photos of the recipients please contact Bianca Rubin at [email protected]
About the Trust: Established in 1982, the Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust strives to enrich the professionalism of the independent funeral practitioner through lifelong learning and is dedicated to funding the development and administration of research initiatives, assistance grants, award programs and the presentation of educational programs dealing with business management, counseling, personnel management and other topics of importance and interest to the members of Selected and independently owned and operated funeral home professionals. More information on the Selected Educational Trust and its activities can be found at www.selectedtrust.org.
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