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Cast Your Vote Now! NFDA Innovation Award Will Be Presented at 2017 Convention

August 1, 2017

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Cast Your Vote Now! NFDA Innovation Award Will Be Presented at 2017 Convention

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) invites funeral service professionals to select the recipient of the 2017 NFDA Innovation Award. Established in 2009, the NFDA Innovation Award recognizes and promotes creativity, innovation and excellence among funeral service suppliers and vendors. The winner will be announced on October 30 during the Monday General Session of the NFDA International Convention & Expo. The NFDA Convention will take place October 29 through November 1 in Boston.

Earlier this year, funeral service vendors and suppliers had an opportunity to submit a product or service that became commercially available after January 1, 2016, for consideration in the 2017 NFDA Innovation Award competition. A distinguished panel of funeral directors evaluated the 26 entries and selected five finalists: 

  1. Suicide-Telephone Operator Patch (STOP) System, ASD – Answering Service for Directors. When someone is feeling hopeless or alone, there is no telling who they might reach out to and, in some cases, they contact a funeral home. ASD created the STOP System to give its staff a way to seamlessly connect a caller with a suicide prevention hotline, ensuring these individuals receive the immediate counseling, guidance and support they need.
  2. Honoring Service Church Truck Drape, Final Embrace LLC. The Honoring Service church truck drape allows funeral professionals to pay tribute to the specific service (military, civil, or religious) of the deceased, even when their casket may already be covered with a flag or flowers. The set includes patches for the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy. Funeral homes can purchase additional emblems that honor the Coast Guard, first responders and service organizations; religious symbols are also available.
  3. High Gloss Enamel Customized Photo Urn, Funeral Home Gifts. Photo urns currently on the market require the funeral director to slide a photo behind a piece of plastic or etch a photo into a wood faced urn. With Funeral Home Gifts’ Enamel Customized Photo Urn, the photo is baked into the enamel finish on the urn itself. The photo will not scratch or fade and the urn is practically indestructible.
  4. BrioHOCL PrP, The Dodge Company. Handling the bodies of individuals who died from a prion disease – such as Creutzveldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), a fatal dementia in humans, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) – is of great concern for many who work in funeral homes. BrioHOCL is a ready-to-use product that is proven to inactivate prions and disinfect environmental surfaces and instruments. It enables embalmers and funeral directors to be confident that their facilities can be cleaned and disinfected, posing no risk of cross-contamination.
  5. The Wilbert ClearVault, Wilbert Funeral Services Inc. ClearVault is a unique and attractive acrylic urn vault that provides multiple uses, such as a burial urn vault; memorial service display; engravable memory capsule; ceremonial funeral home-to-family presentation case; and a showcase for in-home protection and display. ClearVault provides a 360° clear view of the urn and other items, such as mementos, that express a loved one’s life.

Funeral professionals can visit to read more about each of the finalists. NFDA members will be able to vote for the product or service they feel is most deserving of the Innovation Award during the month of August when they cast their ballot in the NFDA Elections.

On August 1, all eligible NFDA members who have a valid, unique email address on file with NFDA will receive an email with their individual voting credentials and instructions on how to cast a ballot in the NFDA Election and for the Innovation Award winner. Eligible voters who do not have an email address on file with NFDA will be receiving a postcard with their individual voting credentials and instructions on how to cast a ballot.

NFDA thanks the funeral directors who served on the panel of judges that selected the six Innovation Award finalists: Rebecca Robidas Gardner, Northeast Texas Community College, Mount Pleasant, Texas; Cody Jones, Callaway Jones Funeral Home, Bryan, Texas; Nate Lovas, Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte, Mich.; C.R. Lyons III, C.R. Lyons & Sons Inc., Danvers, Mass; and T. Preston Mckee II, Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Johnson City, Tenn.

The NFDA International Convention & Expo is the world’s largest gathering of funeral directors. This must-attend event will enable attendees to take their business to new levels of success and will offer unparalleled opportunities for learning, networking, and discovering new products and services. The latest information, including details on how to register for the Convention and reserve hotel rooms, can be found by visiting or calling 800-228-6332. Attendees can save up to $100 on the registration fee when they register on or before September 22.

NFDA thanks its 2017 International Convention & Expo sponsors for their continued support:

  • Black Diamond: Funeral Directors Life
  • Platinum: FCA-Fiat Chrysler, Federated Insurance, NGL
  • Gold: Bass-Mollett Publishers, Batesville, LendingUSA, Homesteaders Life Company, Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions, Messenger, Microsoft
  • Silver: ASD – Answering Service for Directors, funeralOne, Implant Recycling, Live Oak Bank, Madelyn Company, Nomis Publications Inc., The Outlook Group, Physicians Mutual
  • Bronze: ANA, Doric, Inman Shipping, Kelco Supply Co, Sich Casket Company, TSYS, Wilbert Funeral Services

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving 19,700 individual members who represent more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit