President's Message - An Honor to Be President of OFDA
by Bob VanHorn, OFDA President
It is truly difficult to believe that a year has passed since I was given the privilege and honor of being elected president of OFDA. It has been a very fast paced twelve months. I'd like to share some of my experiences and projects the executive committee has been able to accomplish this year.
The year began with the 2004 convention. It was very satisfying to me that the convention generated a profit. This benefited the year's budget.
Each year, after the convention, the Executive Committee holds a planning meeting in order to welcome the newly elected secretary and set the upcoming calendar year. I held this meeting at Maumee Bay State Park, in order to showcase my part of the State. It was at this meeting we discussed revisiting our 20 districts, since attendance at scheduled regional meetings was very low. As we all know, communication is a must to our organization. Poor attendance at meetings does not accomplish that. First, to be able to go to the districts, rather than the regions, I presented the idea to the Board of Directors and received their approval. We then sent a letter to each district president, stating we wanted to present a program in their district, earning members 2 CEUs. I can tell you this worked out very well. We have given our presentation to all of the 14 districts who invited us to a meeting, out of the 20 districts we have. It was an enjoyable experience for the officers to meet you in your communities and hear your concerns. We will be reporting back to the Board on this issue and will keep you informed as to what the next year will bring.
Communication is key to having a healthy association. Your officers work very well together. We may not always agree, but we always discuss and work through issues coming to a unified decision as to what we feel is best for the general membership of OFDA. Dan, myself, Ken, Jon and Keith have worked very hard to better our association and have become like brothers. It has been a pleasure for me to have worked with them.
A year ago, I pledged to make every attempt to formulate a code of ethics, to guide us and let the public know how we are accountable. Richard Reed and his Constitution & Bylaws Committee supported me in this and worked to formulate one. This was presented at the Board of Directors meeting in January. I am proud to say it has been adopted. It is in a format, suitable for framing that can be displayed in your funeral home.
In March, your Executive Committee met with the Past Presidents of OFDA to update them as to what we have been doing this year. That evening we held our annual Legislative Reception at the Vern Riffe Center in downtown Columbus. This is always well attended and provides us with the opportunity to talk one on one with our State Representatives and Senators in order to explain what issues are important to our profession. We encourage any of you to join us in this important event. See the newsletter next year; we always announce the reception and invite any of you to attend.
Another issue important to me has been the possibility of founding a summer day camp to help children having problems dealing with death. The Board of Directors has allowed me to form a committee to look at this as a possible reality. The goal is to hold such a camp each year in a different area of the state. It will take some time to develop and I am happy to say I have the support of the current officers to continue to work on this. Hopefully, it will become a reality. The working name of the camp is Camp Hope but the name may change. Look for updates and we welcome any suggestions or ideas you may have. I am very grateful to those of you who have offered help already. Thank you.
Everyone on the Board of Directors, standing committees, Regional Directors and Executive Committee has worked very hard this year to allow OFDA to continue to shine. We have fun along the way too.
The newsletter, this year has reflected the theme from last years convention, TODAY IS BUILT ON YESTERDAY. Many of you generously sent in photos demonstrating the heritage of our profession. We all enjoyed them. Thank you to each of you who contributed.
You, the OFDA members, have given me much friendship and support over the years. My family and I have had many losses, I had surgery and our youngest son and his wife had a very preemie son, Jacob, who is thriving now. You sure helped us get through all of it. We will be forever grateful and thankful. The Committees worked well and ran smoothly. The staff at the office is the best. THANKS to each and every one of you. A big thank you to my wife Margaret. She has been at my side all the time.
Again, thank you for the opportunity and honor of allowing me to have been one of the presidents of OFDA.