By Abby Gibbs
When you think about the funeral home business you probably do not associate a “pursuit of excellence”. However, if you talk with a family who has experienced the loss of a loved one, you will realize the importance of the concept.
Thomas McAfee Funeral Home was selected to receive this prestigious award in Chicago, Illinois at a reception in August, 2017. The selection for this presentation is only given to 165 funeral homes out 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 39 Countries.
McAfee SouthEast Location Director Timothy Gossett shared some interesting details regarding the selection process and his experience receiving the award on behalf of Thomas McAfee Funeral Home.
The McAfee Family began their work helping others with the loss of loved ones when they founded the funeral home in 1913 on South Main Street in Greenville, SC. This was still in the days of the horse-drawn hearse. Mr. McAfee knew the city would grow and he planned his service to be able to accommodate those needs for the future. In fact, he bought the first motor ambulance to be used in Greenville in 1915. As the business was established in 1913 and continued through the years until the death of Mr. McAfee in 1943 so were the purposes, goals, and values. His goals were personal service through relationships and being understanding and compassionate to each and every family they served each day.
Thomas McAfee Jr. stepped into the leadership role in 1943 as President until his death in 1993. He continued the goals and values set by his Father and enhanced the insistence of excellence in their service to families.
Since 1993, the Grandson, Thomas McAfee III and Great Grandsons (Thomas McAfee, IV and John McAfee) became the new leaders of the organization. This succession now comes to the third and fourth generation of the McAfee Family. The Family heritage for excellence, values, goals, and serving the community continues with the leadership of the McAfee family.
There are approximately 80 employees who share McAfee values for serving families. Employees and services are now located in 4 facilities in the Greater Greenville area. These include the main facility at 639 North Main Street, Greenville on site since 1952, a facility in 1992 at 6710 White Horse Road, Greenville (NW), and a Cremation Center opened in 2001 at the NW location behind the NW location on White Horse Road. The newest location is the SE facility at Brookwood Pointe in Simpsonville, SC which better serves the Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn communities.
McAfee family history provided criteria to earn the National Funeral Directors Association Pursuit of Excellence Award. The participation for consideration is voluntary, indicating the determination of the organization. The qualifying criteria to meet or exceed business standards by the program and demonstrate proficiency in key areas of funeral services aided in their reception of the award. All including compliance with state and federal regulations, providing ongoing education and professional development opportunities for staff, offering outstanding programs and resources to bereaved families, maintaining an active level of involvement in the community, participating in the funeral service profession, and promoting funeral home services through a variety of marketing, advertising and public relations programs. Those participating must also adhere to a Pledge of Ethical Practices. An interesting note: ALL staff agrees to fully participate in every category required. This means excellence in every area of coverage, every day, by every person on the staff. Few organizations are able to promote this level of compliance and satisfaction with their staff.
Another area that is often overlooked is the continuing educational opportunities that are provided throughout the year by the McAfee staff in topics related to grief counseling as it applied to each generation, caring for aging parents, pre-arrangement planning for families, etc. Workshops are conducted in venues in our community with pleasant surroundings. Presenters and instructors come from a variety professions; work and guide teachers, counselors, pastors, social workers, nurses and others from the medical profession, psychologists, and people from all walks of everyday life. Most workshops are free to the public and a slight charge if continuing education units are requested. They provide an amazing resource for families and professionals in working through and guiding others in grief, loss, and bereavement.
The McAfee tradition and mission continues to remain vigilant since 1913 as they recognize the changing needs of families as the communities grow.
The official presentation of the “Pursuit of Excellence Award” by the National Funeral Directors Association will take place on October 29th in Boston, Massachusetts at the Annual NFDA Convention.
For more information, please refer to their website www.thomasmcafee.com