Robert B. Ferguson, Jr. F.D., OwnerFor many longtime funeral professionals, the overwhelming need to express appreciation to those who have put their trust in us is exhibited by a commitment to community service. As true public servants, undertakers, morticians, and funeral directors alike are called upon at anytime to provide for the needs of those grieving and distressed. Our sworn duty to serve, aside from our daily personal responsibilities, takes top precedence and off we go, delving into a full-fledged desire to accommodate the bereaved. It is our focus, it is our pledge, it is our promise, and it is our undertaking that symbolizes our culture.


As for the art of giving back, communities across America and service organizations circling the globe derive a sincere benefit from those dedicated caregivers and workers. The one genuine gift that we can deliver is the volunteer time spent for the betterment of mankind. In times of need, times of disaster, and in times of holiday giving, throngs of professional servants set aside their personal lives and submerge themselves into this conceptual means of saying “Thanks”.


Most recently with the events of Katrina and Rita, it was the response of funeral professionals that portrayed the obvious, the desire to give back. It happens however on a daily basis, in their own backyard, in their hometowns and enhances the quality of life for all. Whether ringing the bell at the kettle, distributing groceries to the needy, or providing a gentle touch to the shoulder of the impoverished, they are there.


In my own small community setting I have witnessed the out-pouring of volunteering. It’s the drones, the workers, the network of us common folk working together to make a difference. Goose bumps are the norm, a tear happens occasionally, and smiles are abundant when seeing the good it does to assist. From all walks of life and from all ethnic origins, both young and old chip in to provide aid. So as we approach the upcoming holiday season, I urge you to join with your local public servants, your local funeral professionals and work side-by-side, hand-in-hand to make a difference and those goose bumps will be had by all!


Rob Ferguson is a PA licensed funeral director and past president of the Westmoreland-Indiana-Armstrong County Funeral Directors Association. He can be reached at