For the Coughlins of Central Florida First Call, practicing a high level of funeral service is in the family DNA. Dan, who along with his son Matthew own a thriving removal service company headquartered in Orlando, have absorbed the lessons of a successful family funeral business that dates back to 1880.
That’s why when he and his son purchased a struggling removal service in the early 2000’s, they quickly worked to make sure that each and every family was serviced with the best-dressed and well-equipped staff.
“We’ve constantly replaced trucks and stretchers so that we aren’t rolling dilapidated equipment,” says the younger Coughlin. “That also meant getting rid of those old fake fur cot covers and finding something more dignified that would honor the people we serve from the first moment we take them into our care.”
Coughlin’s search didn’t take long, as another funeral industry company, Final Embrace, had recently formed in Central Florida. After consultation, they ordered four quilted blue cot covers and immediately noticed a difference.
“Combined with our new stretchers, those great cot covers told our funeral home clients that we were here to do things differently and better,” says Dan. “Pretty soon we were adding new accounts, new vehicles, new employees and yes, even more cot covers.”
For Matt, one of the biggest improvements to their growing fleet came when Final Embrace, at his request, added the Stars & Stripes lining to their cot cover selection.
“We almost never know ahead of time if we’re serving a veteran,” “But every veteran has some kind of memorabilia or memento, even if it’s just a picture on the wall,” says Coughlin. “Most of the time, I don’t even have to ask; we see that photo and just use the stars and stripes. Families can’t believe we’re honoring their loved one even from that first moment.”
Matt, in charge of daily operations that serves four counties, now oversees a fleet that grows each time volume reaches 1,000 calls a year per vehicle. With vehicle #10 on the way, it’s hard to argue with their recipe for success.
For Patricia Moore, CFSP, whose husband’s family have operated Moore’s Home for Funerals in Wayne, New Jersey since 1902, a successful recipe sometimes needs to be refined.
“When I first saw the beautiful covers from Final Embrace, I knew we needed to change out those old gray blankets with our name on the side,” says Moore, whose instincts were spot on, as families immediately responded to the change to beautiful quilts and tapestry covers.
“As we used the covers, we saw how people responded and decided we needed to do something about our other removal equipment,” says Patricia, referring to the black suitcase that the firm utilized for infant and fetal removals.
“I don’t even have words to say how much more beautiful this solution is,” says Moore. “Changing away from that awful suitcase for the few times we have to make that kind of removal makes us feel better and tells the hospital staff how much we really care.”
Next, Moore turned her attention to the rush job I.D. viewings that are usually accomplished with four or five white sheets to varying degrees of success.
“The AlternaView System by Final Embrace is easy to clean and even easier to attach,” says Moore, who quickly fell in love with the product. “It looks better than a stark sheet and feels more dignified. I had a woman once say that ‘it looks just like home’ when she saw her loved one presented with the AlternaView. It’s truly about the details.”
Chaplain Kenneth Brewster, CFSP, CPC of Crowe’s Funeral Homes in Jamaica, Queens, New York is a man who pays attention to details. Whether it’s the shine on his shoes, the cut of his custom suits or the fine materials in his one-of-a-kind bow ties, Brewster is known for his style. So when his attention turned to casket covers, he knew who to call.
“We already had beautiful cot covers from Final Embrace, so I knew how much families appreciated that touch,” shares Brewster. “But I also knew that I wanted to continue that personalized honor over to our casket covers.”
Brewster worked with Final Embrace to create the perfect casket cover that would not only be padded for protection and lined to guard against the weather, but also feature a beautiful fabric exterior to replace the dingy gray quilted fabric of a typical utilitarian casket covering.
“Our beautiful casket cover has become part of our brand,” says Brewster, who remarks that people have noticed. “Some in our community now tell me when they see one of those old gray casket covers at a funeral provided elsewhere.”
“We perform services quite often at Calverton National Cemetery, so I asked them to include a Stars & Stripes lining in the casket cover,” says Brewster. “It is important that we salute their service and the response we get from the staff is worth the effort.”
Brewster has also recently added two new covers, one of the Jamaican Flag and the other the flag of Guyana, to pay tribute to those whose heritage includes service to their homelands.
“Everyone has a unique story and we succeed when we honor that,” says Brewster. “It’s just one more way we can show how much we care.”
Showing you care could be a personal mantra for Andy Bell, manager of Woodlawn Funeral Home and Crematory. The firm’s owner, Ken Bell, more succinctly states it in the company motto: “A special tribute for a special person.”
For Bell, licensed funeral director and certified celebrant, honoring the life and service of the firm’s families in Norfolk, Virginia is made all the more poignant because of the number of military veterans they serve.
“We provide funerals for veterans of all branches, but we also have a lot of Navy families because of our location,” says Bell. “It’s a privilege and a duty we take seriously.”
The firm, which has erected a memorial to those killed in the attack on the U.S.S. Cole and those lost at sea on the U.S.S. Scorpion, offers special veteran tributes, including a bell ringing ceremony and the patriot guard motorcycle escorts for services. Bell recently added special “Honoring Service” church truck drapes from Final Embrace to add an additional tribute to their offerings.
“The removable emblems let me now honor not just a veteran’s overall military commitment, but the specific branch they served,” says Bell, who utilizes the sleek black church truck drape at the funeral home and in church. “In the two months we’ve had it, I think we’ve used it more than a dozen times, three times in one day actually!”
Started in 2001 in managing partner Timothy Totten’s garage, Final Embrace employs 15 artisans who make the firm’s beautiful quilt and tapestry products in their Central Florida facility.
To see all available products and fabric choices, please visit www.finalembrace.com or call 800-896-0598 for a free catalog.