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The most recent stop on ICCFA's tour of the states was right in our backyard at the Virginia Funeral Directors Association Convention in Roanoke. (Well not most recent, as I am actually writing this from Kentucky, but blog-time is close to catching up with real time).
To skip to the ending - since it was so delightful - here is the view from our car window during the first hour of the trip up Skyline Drive back home to Northern Virginia. Few pastoral settings compare to the beauty that is the Shenandoah Mountains.
Then, here is the view from our car window during the second hour of the trip up Skyline Drive after the rain and fog had set in. At this point our speed dipped from 35 mph to approximately 35 cph (centimeters per hour) as I attempted to navigate between the invisible lines marking the invisible road and the invisible 3500 ft drop which constituted the “shoulder.”
So the most interesting part about the 2009 VFDA Convention was the near flaming death off an Appalachian cliff. But the next most interesting part was definitely the wonderful folks Linda and I met and the gracious hospitality we enjoyed at the Convention itself.
Linda once again did yeoman duty manning the booth and answering questions. Plenty of people inquired about the new state requirement for crematory operator certification – which inspired ICCFA to quickly schedule three certification classes July 13-15 in several key parts of the state. Click here for details on crematory operator certification opportunities in Vienna, Richmond and Norfolk.
The Exhibit Hall sessions were well-attended, with food and beverage service available throughout most expo hours.
Kudos to the VFDA and Virginia Cemetery Association for signing a Memorandum of Understanding supporting the Missing in America Project (MIAP). Here, Convention Chair Robert Givens (standing) hands the documents to VFDA President Michael Rorrer for signature. As soon as a digital copy of the Virginia Memorandum of Understanding is available we will post it here as a model for other state and national organizations that may want to follow suit.
As an editorial note, I think a commitment to provide military funeral honors for unclaimed veterans' cremated remains is a truly noble effort the entire industry should support.
Pat Green of Integrity Burial Boxes is the Veterans Cemetery Liaison to the Virginia MIAP project.
VFDA Exec Lacy Whittaker kept the trains running on time throughout the Convention.
ICCFA Board Member Mike Doherty stopped by the booth during the “tailgate party with exhibitors.”
Some old and new friends in the booths around ours:
Good buddy and booth-neighbor wherever we go, Del Doleman of American Cemetery and Funeral Supply visits with a customer. Two things I have come to expect every time we arrive at a new trade show are: 1) another part of our exhibit booth will be broken, and 2) Del will be across the aisle.
Lar and Ken of Larken (get it?). They are a brand-new industry supplier selling amazingly inexpensive handmade urns.
Because of the rapid onset of senility I have forgotten their names, but the folks at Embalmers' Supply were very nice.
And below are just some random shots around the expo hall. Looking forward to the VFDA Convention next year in Norfolk!