With great pride, I tell you I just returned from North Carolina, where I was an invited guest at the North Carolina Funeral Directors Association conference there. I was offered an opportunity to share some of my experiences as the head of a brand new family-owned funeral and cremation center, and spoke on how we do what we do. It’s always a pleasure to share with others the beauty and quality of life in the Brazos Valley.
Now, I never hold people in suspense when they ask me that question. The answer is easy—it’s our tremendous staff here that keeps us on the leading edge. They make a funeral service and life tribute such a memorable experience. That really resonates with you–that we listen. Those are the first two elements.
I spoke also of a community that is deeply rooted in rich tradition—many of us love all things Aggie. But we have friends (and relatives) who also regard all things orange and white. That’s important to know so that we embrace that properly. School loyalty and love of one’s favorite teams is a major element that we reflect on when we celebrate a life. The audience enjoyed my stories of just how ‘much’ Aggies love A&M, when I told them. Of course I grew up here and my perspective is shaped a “little bit” from my parents’ and grandparents’ experiences. No apologies needed or given when you bleed maroon.
Finally, the fourth thing I shared with our new friends in North Carolina is the need to keep things on a personal level. We’ve been in the Brazos Valley for five generations and we all just know each other, many by first name. When you need us, you’re not just calling a funeral director. You’re calling a friend to be with you at the most important time in your life. North Carolina was amazing! Read more about the trip on my blog.
Every year I travel the country in continuing education courses for my profession where I meet new friends and colleagues, especially among the family-owned funeral homes. We share our experiences and knowledge and each trip, I return to the Brazos Valley renewed and convinced that our family is bringing you something new.
In North Carolina, there were four funeral directors, including myself, who came from across the country to help lead discussions. To describe the four of us, we are not the typical funeral directors you might imagine (come on, you think we are all in black suits, 24/7 and we never smile, right? Not the Callaway-Jones family of course, but you know that’s your standard vision of the profession…until you meet us!
We are always trying new ideas in arranging our funerals, and particularly in designing our new funeral and cremation center did we really put a lot of thought and vision into creating an entirely different and very welcoming experience for you to feel when you walk in our doors. I’ve traveled across the United States and visited the kinds of business spaces that people dream of building when it’s time to expand or upgrade their facilities.
In North Carolina, we made brief presentations and then spoke one-on-one to the attendees and exchanged many ideas. I have to say, too, that you—our families—are why someone invites us to attend and participate in national conferences. At home in Bryan, together we have discussed traditional funerals of course, but we also have discussed ecologically friendly, or “green,” funerals, and new ways of constructing tribute services, the option of offering you a Certified Life Celebrant and Tribute Writer to create something that you feel truly reflects the wishes of your loved one and how they would want to see their service.
Although Certified Life Celebrants really began in Australia many years ago, now in the United States, the profession has grown, particularly in the last two years as we’ve been building our new facility. I was able to share with others the satisfaction that families have shared with us in having our own local dedicated team member on staff to do exactly that.
We’re very proud also of our family team, and our ability to present you with excellent and cost-savings choices to plan ahead for your funerals. In these days of “interesting” financial markets, you can never go wrong with preplanning and locking in prices today. That’s one of the trends we are seeing nationally as a group.
Another item we discussed was computer software. Right now, I’ll confess to being a bit of a computer nerd. It’s okay. I own it. So, for the past two years, Callaway-Jones has been using a new kind of planning software that is leading the industry. The details are not important to you, but the product serves you, our families, better than we could ever ask for. I had the chance to participate in the demonstration to our audience to show them the software and its capabilities.
We also visit facilities at each regional meeting and this time it was the peautiful Pierce-Jefferson Home in Greensboro, North Carolina. Finally, we all just had great conversation and fellowship, as funeral service professionals. It’s always good to recharge our batteries. Speaking of which, on August 2, I’m more than proud that Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers was chosen as a site for our National Funeral Directors Association Arranger Training. This Wednesday, August 2, we will be welcoming our guests and proudly showing them who our team is, and what we all do together.
Lacy Robinson, CFSP and NFDA Director of Member Development, will be leading the presentation. Of course we’re still open regular business hours to serve all your needs, but we’re very proud to be the host site for this very special event.
All these national distinctions, as well as those we receive at home in the way of community distinction, are the reasons we can offer you the knowledge you need in making important choices. The rules(four way test) of my Bryan Rotary Club prevail in how our family operates, and we’ve lived here for five generations now, and plan to always be right here to serve you with our very personal best.
Cody D. Jones ‘02
Owner & Community Member