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A Salute to Funeral Service Professionals

African American news from Pasadena - Lifestyle - Salute to Funeral Service professionalsFuneral service is a worthy profession. It is for those who are soft of heart, but strong in integrity and character. It is for those who are willing to work hard and to be of service to others. Funeral Directors impact the lives of thousands of people for good. They truly make a difference in the lives of families they serve.

Everyone can not be a good funeral director. It takes a person who loves people, who is compassionate, caring, sensitive to others, patient, and emotionally strong. It also takes a good communicator, especially one who listens well. Many funeral directors volunteer in their communities, serving in their churches, in local civic organizations, giving of their time, talent and treasure, outside of the work environment also.

There is a casket panel insert that reads, "May The Life That I Lived Speak For Me." The lives that funeral directors live speak volumes. I would like to salute funeral directors for their compassionate and professional service to the community.

On September 27th of this year, I was installed as President of the Los Angeles County Funeral Directors Association. Over 100 funeral service professionals and guests attended the organization's 55th installation of officers held at the Brookside Golf Club, here in Pasadena. I am honored to be President and would like to go on record saying that a career as a funeral director is one of the best in the world.

Funeral Directors truly bless others, but we are certainly blessed as a result. Father Boyle from Homeboy Industries has a saying that I love. He says, "service is a hallway to kinship." That is so true because funeral directors build quality and lasting relationships with many that they serve.

When I was a little girl growing up, my parents took my sister Janyce and I on Sunday outings and on summer vacations. In our travel we often visited a mortuary. I remember wondering why we couldn't visit an amusement park or just go somewhere to play instead. I had to grow up to understand that it was because they loved their profession and had a plan to succeed. It was because they knew they needed to stay abreast of what was going on in the industry. They wanted to stay current re: new developments and practices, in order to better serve.

In my closing remarks at the installation, I shared that one of my goals as president is to continue the legacy that my parents handed down to me and the legacy the association has handed down to its members for 54 years. And that is a legacy of professionalism, cooperation and caring. I will emphasize and promote proposing to learn and grow, to identify and utilize best practices, to share information and resources with co-laborers in the industry and to genuinely care for those your serve.

My father, Fred W. Valentine, was president of the association I am now President of, in 1977-78. I honor him, as well as my mother, who is the "good woman" who stood not behind, but beside him throughout the years. In fact, I salute all funeral service professionals for the good works they do, and for the support they give.

[Gail Valentine Taylor, M.S.W. Funeral Director Woods-Valentine Mortuary This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (626) 798-8941.]


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