"Mark, I wanted to update you as we renew our annual membership with ValMark for 2015/2016. As of mid-August 2015 we are up 60 CASES YTD over last year! I attribute our growth and market penetration to the tremendous successes we have had working the VFMC Community Engagement Programs since 2008. This is evidenced by simply going to our Facebook page. Working the programs is really working for us. Renewing for another year is a no-brainer!"
Hindman Funeral Homes
"Mark, we've been an exclusive funeral home provider with ValMark for over 7 years and have participated in many of the worthwhile community engagement programs that you have developed and provided us with; Sweaters for Veterans, Stockings for Soldiers and Operation Valentine to name a few. Our community has responded with great enthusiasm and the programs get bigger and attract more attention year over year. My funeral home has seen a steady, sustainable uptick in case volume, revenue and market share due to the exposure, visibility and top of mind awareness we have enjoyed since joining your group. Thanks for these great programs and brand affiliations."
Jerry Sowers, Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home, Piqua, OH
"Mark, I hope all is well with you. I am very excited about our upcoming VFMC- Patriot Walk. We have had great response from the community already!
Some of the publications in our area put out a calendar of events for the coming months and year. Can you give me the dates for each ValMark, VFMC Community Engagement Program so we can have them put in the community calendars? Thank you."
Dale Woodward Funeral Home
Holly Hill, FL
"Thank you for all that you are doing for my funeral homes"
Lauren and Claire McDonald
McDonald & Son Funeral Home
"Here's a few articles and photos from Operation Valentine. This was a great success for us here in Covington, in fact the newspaper did 3 stories about Operation Valentine and one even on the front page. Below you can click to see the articles."
Sending Love Overseas
Funeral Home Collecting Valentine
J.C. Harwell & Son
"Hey Mark, I sent out the Stockings for Soldiers press release... after the story aired our phones are ringing off the hook for stockings! Here's the story that aired on FOX NEWS!"
Max A. Sass Funeral Homes
"Mark, we did a very short video of the senior group that made our cards and then showed some of the cards. We posted it on our Facebook page and in less than 24 hours, it has had 12,876 views and 2.2k likes. Pretty good considering only 21 shares from our site."
Dewayne Hughes - Hughes Crown Hill Funeral Home-Dallas, TX
"Mark, we had kids from our local elementary schools do Operation Valentine-2016. We sent to the cards to veterans homes in our county. This was a Fantastic Success!."
Charles Chiango, Owner: Egizi Funeral Home Turnersville, NJ
"The cremation shopper phone script you provided is awesome! We are printing it off and laminating to keep at all locations! Since we are already branding with your programs it would just make sense to pursue further preneed marketing with ValMark".
Crain Funeral Home & Cremation Service
Cape Girardeau, MO
"I wanted to let you know we just mailed over 200 stockings to the troops. This is our third year participating in VFMC's Stocking for Soldiers and by far the largest. Our community really jumped on board this year. We had great coverage from our local newspaper as well as one of our local TV stations. Each Labor Day our local community foundation sponsors a free concert for the community. For the past two years they have asked that those attending bring their used cell phones to donate to "Cell Phones for Soldiers." Both of these programs have helped get our name out in front of the public. Thank you for helping us give something back to those who protect our freedom each and everyday".
Calfee Funeral Home, Beckley, WV
"I just wanted to let everyone know how successful our VFMC Stockings for Soldiers project has been going for our communities. This is our first year participating with this particular project but it has simply taken off! We have had probably 200+ stockings go flying out our doors and we are anxiously awaiting to see them all come back so we can send them on to the troops. We can hardly wait for next year now. The radio has been generous giving us airtime and the area newspapers has been running special press releases for us as well as stories of special interest. We are so blessed."
Sincerely, Timothy R. Livingston
Owner, Owens Livingston Mortuary, Show Low, AZ
"I just wanted to send this "Front Page - Full Color" article that was in our local paper for the Wreaths Across American Ceremony we sponsored on Dec. 10th. As veteran's ourselves, it is an honor for my husband Jarrod and myself to be able to honor our fellow brothers and sisters with programs like Wreaths Across America, Sweaters for Vets, and the many others that are promoted through the Veteran's and Family Memorial Care program. Thank you allowing us to be a part of your program. We have definately become known to our local vets and their spouses because of them."
Jenelle and Jarrod Mankie
Northern Peace Funeral Home
"Wanted to share a picture with you. Last year we set a very ambitious goal for the 2011 VFMC-Stockings for Soldiers--to ship 1000 filled stockings to our troops. We are getting super excited as it looks like we just might make it! With fantastic community support, we handed out 1000 and received back probably 6-700 so far along with boxes of extra products to fill more. They are due back Monday, December 5th. Cecil County, MD should be proud! The community has banded together and hit the ball out of the park on this one! What a show of love and support for our troops!"
Crouch Funeral Home
North East, MD
"The VFMC Sweaters for Veterans collection went extremely well! We placed ads in the community newspapers and local churches. We had a total of 420 sweaters!
One local TV station picked up on the story. Here is a link to our Facebook page, with pictures and updates that we posted."
Max A. Sass & Sons FH
"Just wanted to pass on our success in the Sweaters for Veterans Drive. We ended up with too many to count sweaters, gloves, hats, and coats to distribute. We have a small veterans home here in our town and we donated to them. The gentleman that runs the home kept what he needed for his guys and sent the rest to three different veteran groups right here in Galesburg. What a success. We have also secured two prearrangements because of this drive. They are a new family to us."
Mark A. Thomas
"Hi Mark, I wanted to let you know how your program worked for us, having just joined your group 6 weeks ago we ran the Sweaters for Veterans ad 4 times in our local paper ( even got a price break because of the program ) in the 12 day collection time we had about 50 people come in and we also picked up from several folks over 250 items including 192 sweaters. We worked with the local American Legion Post who is going to give them out to local veterans and our VA hospital. I was very pleased with it being our first time with working the VFMC programs. Thanks for what you do."
Hudson Funeral Home
"Just wanted to let you know the programs do work! We have had alot of success with the programs we have done this year. Thanks for all of your support and we look forward to 2013! I have attached a copy of a "Thank You" ad that ran today. Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays!!"
Abbey Funeral Home
Things started to pick up steam for us last fall. We have had booths at several festivals to collect Cell Phones for Soldiers, and have been working with some local veterans groups. We even have American Legion Halls sending people to us telling them we are "Veteran Friendly". Our number of cases has been increasing and a large part can be attributed to Veterans & Family Memorial Care. Much more on the horizon, but we finally are starting to get some traction. Thanks for your work.
David Work, Owner
Lord Funeral Home
St. Louis, MO
Mark, I have had so much press time with the last two events. The VFMC Patriot Walk- September 11, 2013 - I had both of our news stations broadcast live from the funeral home and two local fire departments came in full gear with trucks to walk for the other firefighters. And our second year with Sweaters for Veterans has been amazing, we collected 150 sweaters...fifty more than last year. The news stations call me regularly for interviews and to see which event will be coming down the pipeline next. I am a huge fan! Thanks for all the help! When you work the programs, they do work for you...four times over.
Chambers & James Funeral Home
"Mark, wanted to let you know that we are well into our 3rd year of the VFMC Stockings for Soldiers initiative and so far on track to go over last years total of 300. Cell phones collected to date are 1336 with more coming in weekly. I met with a nice couple looking to do pre-planning for themselves. He is a 20 year Career Navy Veteran and came to us because of the ads we do with the VFMC logo, the Cell Phones for Soldiers program and Stockings for Soldeirs. While we were talking about the cell phones, he stated to me that he had received a free calling card while he was overseas. So again what a positive response to the programs which continue to drive traffic into our facilities."
Wilson-Miller Funeral Home
Staff, "Stockings for Soldiers is going better than I would have every imagined. So many churches and individuals from Chester County have embraced the concept and the stockings keep rumbling in. People are just blown away and make comments like “I always wondered how I might thank our troops overseas” And the kids love doing this as much as anyone…. Further, an individual from the Chester County prison has requested 200 stockings for next year’s effort. Good work to all who are participating. I can see and hear how rewarding this has been for you too...as funeral service care givers."
Grieco Family Funeral Homes
Kennett Square, PA
"I had a pre need come in today that found me on the VFMC website, VeteransHonored.com!
Ocoee Funeral Home
"Sweaters for Veterans made the front page of our local newspaper along with a color photo. This is only half of the sweaters we received. The first van load was already transported to the VA Hospital."
Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home
Lake Havasu City, AZ
"Good to chat wIth you this mornIng. Our VFMC 9-11 Patriot Walk was a huge success... two famIlIes were so impressed that we would expend the resources In today's market they decIded to use our funeral home when they had a death. That's 2 at-need famlies directly related to to the Patriot Walk just within a couple of weeks. One of the families lives in another state but because of the medIa coverage they saw, they called us. Thanks for the tIme that you gIve to us so that we can be successful!"
Bill Latimer Owner/Director
Brown & Latimer Funeral Home
"The VFMC Sweater for Veterans initiative has been a huge success for us. In addition to collecting upwards of 300 sweaters, a few of which were purchased new gift wrapped and mailed directly to us we have written several preneeds all with new veteran families in the last week alone. There is no question that working the programs is working for us."
Hindman Funeral Homes
"I collected 300 Valentines from our local elementary school for VFMC's Operation Valentine. The director of our local VA asked if she could give them to the vets at the Erie, PA VA Hospital as they go there weekly to provide services and visitation for veterans and she thought it would cheer them up instead of sending them overseas."
"Northrop-Sassaman Funeral Home donated 500 white helium filled balloons with the American Flag on the them for a Memorial Day Service. I just wanted you to know that the annual VFMC Memorial Day Balloon release was a total success and we are going to sponsor the same event next year. Due to the success we will be increasing the number of balloons to be released to 1000. Thanks for all you do."
John B. Sassaman
Good morning Mark:
"Just wanted to follow up on the Sweaters for Veterans outreach program. After multiple steps to get to the right agency within the Durham, NC VA Hospital, we were warmly welcomed! We were able to connect directly with the local VA Clinic in Greenville for donation of over 150 sweaters, gloves and fleece blankets. Those items will be 100% used for the VA Community Clinic Homeless Program in Greenville and Pitt County. What a great experience!
We too have just joined ValMark Memorial Group and Veteran's & Family Memorial Care...and are happy to report another success.....thanks for your organization!
We are also participating in the Stockings for Soldiers program and look forward to sharing that success as well."
Don Wilkerson, Jr.
S.G. Wilkerson & Sons, Inc.
"Stockings for Soldiers has been a huge success! Our inaugural effort, in 2010, netted approximately 250 stockings. Our second year grew to a respectable 900. This year we knocked it out of the park. We partnered with the American Legion, local chamber of commerce, villages, churches, schools, YMCA & the Boy Scouts. Total # shipped…… 2800!! We are currently sending out press releases to the local media, one quick response from a local television station: LINK. This truly makes the difference in many lives. Thanks for the program."
Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home
This program was a huge success! It was extremely fun for all who were involved. Thank you so much for the opportunity that you provided to us. Seeing the children's faces was absolutely priceless when we came to pick up their Valentines. They were all made with love...each and every one of them. Out of the three elementary school that we asked to participate, which is about 1,500 students...we were able to collect 957 Valentines. AWESOME! Attached is a link to the newspaper article and picture in the Warren newspaper!
D.S. Temrowski & Sons Funeral Home
"Here is the email I told you about. This is our fourth year to participate in Wreaths Across America. The family in the email below actually live in Tennessee, but saw online that we participate. She has been a part of it for three out of the four years. We also did the Sweaters for Veterans and collected almost 500 items that were taken to the Dayton VA Hospital for distribution. We sent 175 stockings to soldiers in Afghanistan this year. This was also our fourth year to participate in this program also. We have been truly blessed by the ideas you have provided. It has been a pleasure to work with you."
Loverna M. Dilbone
Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home
Mark, "Wanted to let you know we had a very successful Flag Pole Dedication and VFMC Old Glory Retirement Ceremony at our funeral home. We had a great crowd and passed out many of the VFMC brochures you had sent us. Could you please send me some more."
Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home
"685 Sweaters, 127 pairs of gloves, 54 coats, 30 hats and over 500 misc. pieces of clothing. The Philadelphia Enquirer (400,000 Subscribers) is doing a story at our funeral home tomorrow. Next year our goal is 2000 Sweaters...and we WILL get there. This was an AWESOME program!"
"Mark, We have 7 elementary schools that are participating in VFMC’s Operation Valentine. We have local community paper coverage with photos and story as well as the local Fox News channel. In addition Family Choice has teamed up with several local businesses (see attached flyer) and our local cable provider ComCast as well as a local television news outlet that has agreed to sponsor for advertising."
Family Choice Funerals & Cremation
Roanoke & Virginia Bch, VA
"Mark: Just to fill you in on our programs: I have a retired marine veteran doing our VFMC Veterans Programs and it is working very well. Educating the veterans and their spouses have generated great preneed funded arrangements."
Jessen Funeral Home
"Just wanted to update you on the Operation Valentine initiative since this is our first opportunity to reach out to the public on behalf of VFMC – our local TV station has been running Public Service Announcements all week promoting Operation Valentine, and our local newspaper ran a story about it. We also reached out to several schools and the public in general is responding to our plea for Valentine's Day cards. We are extremely proud to be a part of this organization!"
Cheryl A. Smith
Family Services Consultant
E. Merrill Smith Funeral Home, Inc
"This is a tremendous success!! It is great to hear about the other success stories! We too have great success with Operation Valentine. We received approximately 250 Valentines for the troops from one of our Rochester City Schools who participated. They presented us with the Valentines at their morning pep rally and it drew the attention of 3 news stations. The students were excited to help and bring smiles to the faces of our troops overseas. Thank you for creating Operation Valentine. It is our pleasure to be a member of your organization."
Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home
"The final tally is in, 887 stockings sent out as of today!! Last year, our first effort, netted about 250 stockings. We stepped up the promotion of the VFMC Stockings for Soldiers initiative and you can see the success. Attached is a picture of the display that we set up in the funeral home, featuring the stockings with a thank you photo collage that we received last year. Every person walking through our funeral home has seen this display for the past four weeks. Our community & staff absolutely love participating in this program."
Bartolomeo & Perotto FH
"I want to thank you for these great ideas. This "free" information that was in our local paper is invaluable. We will be doing VFMC's Operation Valentine every year from now on due to the tremendous response and all because of a simple email out to about 5 schools! If we were paying for an "Ad" like this size and in color to go in our local paper, we estimate it would have been about $575.00! Keep up the great work and again, I am proud to be associated with your organization!!"
Samuel A. Glenn
"Thank you for all your support. The programs do work! We just did our first Sweaters for Veterans and our community reached out with such great support that we collected 289 sweaters and coats. The local VFW Posts and the VA clinic along with our Love Kitchen distributed the articles to the homeless veterans in our White Mountain Communities. This program helped us help others and gave us a renewed feeling of Thanksgiving and what it truly means to be thankful to the Soldiers serving, to our Veterans at home and to our community in which we live. We are truly blessed."
"We are also working on Stockings for Soldiers at the present we have sent out 261 stockings and have already received back 116, they have until Friday to get all of them back to us so we can get them mailed by December 3. Again I would like to thank you for all your support."
Owens LIVINGSTON MORTUARY
Show Low, AZ
"Hi Mark, wanted to let you know that we just finished our 2012 Stocking for Soldiers collection and again what a huge success. This year we collected and shipped over 300 stockings, well above last years of 212. The positive reply we received from the community was more than expected. This again had people coming through our doors and see us, many for the first time. Sweaters for Veterans collected were 100 and month of November Cell Phones for Soldiers was 114. AGAIN, people seeing who we are and where we are located. This is by far the best PR we have had in a long time."
Craig C. Pickelman
Wilson MILLER Funeral Home
"Mark, this year the Sweaters for Veterans program yielded over 400 sweaters for the Veterans Home nearby. Our local newspaper printed an article and a picture featuring my funeral home. The program has gotten bigger each year! Another big thank you, for all you do"
Mike Roessner - Lawson-Roessner FH - Defiance, Ohio
Mark, "Three hundred-twenty-three overseas soldiers will enjoy an extra gift for their holiday this year thanks to Peacock Funeral Chapel participating in VFMC's Christmas Stockings for Soldiers. Free Christmas stockings were available at Peacock Funeral Chapel for anyone who wanted to decorate and fill them with various small gifts. Schools and youth groups including DECA, pre-schoolers, banks and businesses and private citizens contributed to filling the stockings. We had both newspapers at the loading dock of the post office to take pictures and get information to publish an article. Great PR. Now we are gearing up for Wreaths Across America this Saturday with the VFW, American Legion, local Boy Scouts and others.
Peacock Funeral Home
thought I would let you know what a tremendous success our 4th “Sweaters for Veterans” collection was. We collected hundreds of items that will be donated to our area veterans in need of cold weather clothing.
Thank you for all your support!
Drennan & Ford Funeral Home and Crematory
Port Angeles, W