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President's Message - People are Mending But Need Our Help

By: Kenneth A. Cahall, OFDA President

In a time of need, funeral directors have always been the ones you can depend on the most, whether it would be the loss of a loved one or someone in your community who just needs a helping hand. We are there to serve our fellow man. Not since the terrorist attacks on 9/11 have our countrymen needed so much. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were very devastating storms that wreaked total destruction over such a vast area. As you all know by now, so many people are left with absolutely nothing. After much confusion and lack of communication following the storm, people have been relocated all over the country. I can't think of another time in our country's history that so many people have been separated from their families and homes within our own borders. People are mending slowly but they still need a lot of help.

In these newsletter articles I usually write about leadership training or what we can do as an association to become better funeral directors. This month, I want to address what we can do, not only as funeral directors but as individuals to help our fellow man.

OFDA extends our deepest concerns and sympathies to those that have lost loved ones, homes and businesses. In disasters, funeral service is always there to serve. Our OFDA mobile morgue was requested by FEMA and has been sent to St. Gabriel, Louisiana to help with the identification of those that lost their lives and to reunite them with their families for disposition. With many or all funeral homes completely destroyed in some areas our first concern is to get those funeral service firms back on their feet. Funeral directors have been asked to assist with funds, supplies and volunteer names to respond to the needs of those states. Several Ohio funeral directors and firms have contacted me to see what Ohio is doing. We are asking you to join us in a nationwide effort through NFDA to contribute anything that you can to help our colleagues in need.

To donate funds, supplies or time go to and click on: "Disaster Relief Effort". You can also send a check payable to Disaster Relief Fund, c/o Funeral Service Foundation, 13625 Bishop's Drive, Brookfield, WI 53005. As individuals we can donate clothing and funds to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Let's show our support for our colleagues in funeral service to get them back on their feet.

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