Never Stop Being a Student

Two of Scott’s grandkids headed off to kindergarten

It seems like just last week the summer was kicking off, and we’re already in back-to-school season. I’ll tell you, time seems to move faster every year. September is back-to-school time, and for me, that’s always meant two things. First, a chance to refocus on goals for the coming months — in some sense, back-to-school is like the start of a whole new year. Second, the idea that even when we’re long past the days of lining up to board the bus, we’re never too old to learn and improve. In the summer, I think we often take time to rest, relax, and recuperate, so I like to approach the fall as a chance to turn over a new leaf (sorry for the pun).

With that educational spirit in mind, we’re further developing three “difference makers” for the coming months that will allow us to enhance the care and support we offer to the people we serve. One difference maker is our funeral director development program. This initiative is focused on educating our team on the Acute Loss Period that happens in the 10–14 days following a death. It’s a stressful period, and one that often proves crucial in how the following months and years will play out. I’ve always believed that our job isn’t just to provide great service, but to be emotionally supportive as well. If we aren’t doing that, we aren’t doing all of our job.

Reception room in White Bear Lake

Our next difference maker is a continued emphasis on improving our facilities. We’ve always tailored our locations to be relevant to modern life. When you think of a funeral home, you probably imagine an environment that feels outdated, stuffy and generally uncomfortable.  We wanted to get far away from that standard. Pleasant, modern, comfortable — those are the characteristics we want our facilities to embody. Our first real innovation on this front was putting in a bar and reception space at our White Bear Lake facility. We’re also focused on creating a cutting-edge video and print experience. To that end, our next upgrade is going to be video and webcasting services that allow friends and family members to take part in a funeral no matter where they happen to be.

Finally, Taelor and I are in the process of creating an entirely new program called Grief Compass. Grief Compass is designed to provide support in the 18 months following a death. We know that during that time, people don’t need a lot of help all of the time. They just need a little help some of the time, and that’s what Grief Compass delivers. The program will include a newsletter component, as well as a 24/7 support line with expert counselors. Whether you want to call anonymously or develop a regular relationship with a counselor, Grief Compass will be there for you.

Martin Zellar and the Hardways

I’m really excited about the work we’ve done so far with these difference makers, and I know that energy will continue through the fall. Before I go, I want to make one last nod to summer and thank everyone who came out to our Summerfest concert. It was a blast, and we’re already looking forward to next year.

Wishing you a pleasant fall,
Scott Mueller

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *