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Giving back to our profession – Guest Article by Shaun Myers

“Get out there and pin him!” It was my son’s first junior high school wrestling match and he wasn’t sure what to do. Yet, with the instructions from his wrestling coach pounding in his ears, Thomas’ resolve was now fully awakened. Amazingly, halfway through the final period, he managed to pin his opponent to the mat with an awkward and unnamed amateur wrestling hold. At first Thomas didn’t know the match was over and he was not sure if he should let go of his challenger. However, he quickly realized that he had won the match and Thomas’ look of steely determination was replaced by his winsome smile and his friendly personality. Thomas had been practicing for months. Now he understood how the training, the exercise, the instruction, and the practice all come together for a successful result.

Since 2002, the Funeral Service Foundation has worked hard to become the leading independent charitable organization representing all of funeral service. Funds have been generously contributed through the Hand in Hand campaign, pledges, sponsorships and golf tournaments. With sound financial planning and solid direction from leadership, the foundation is now able to sponsor programs, research, grants and scholarships to ensure a bright future for those of us who work in death care professions.

When I was first asked to join the board of trustees for the Funeral Service Foundation, I wondered what would ignite my passion for volunteer service and working on behalf of all of the foundation. I now see the myriad of good things that the foundation does. I have met inspiring people who have been the recipients of scholarships who the foundation has assisted to enter funeral service. I have examined the results of insightful studies and research for recruiting and retaining high-quality funeral service professionals; I have used the recently published Screening and Hiring Expert Guide to Make the Right Hire; I have participated in foundation efforts to care for victims from Katrina and Haiti; and I have seen the wonderful results of the financial assistance the foundation has rendered to weighty causes.

I anxiously look forward to the results of several research studies that have recently been funded, including the FAMIC study for a high impact positive funeral service media campaign, and the “Formaldehyde-Free Embalming Chemical” research being done at several institutions of funeral service education.

It is particularly gratifying to watch the foundation truly become the positive and unifying voice that represents the compassion, generosity, and care of our noble profession. The transformation is as beautiful as watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon, or perhaps as exciting as watching your son win his first junior high school wrestling match.

Through strategic planning and hard work the board of trustees has charted a wonderful and exciting course of action for the future. I invite you to help with this noble cause by giving back to our profession by contributing to the Funeral Service Foundation.

Shaun Myers currently serves as the chair of the Funeral Service Foundation. He is also president of Myers Mortuaries and Evergreen Memorial Park in Ogden, Utah, as well as a treasurer for the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC).

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