Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Worsham student wins Trigard scholarship

Trigard Vaults 
proudly awarded a scholarship to Tristan Jardee, a student at Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, IL. Jardee received the scholarship because he demonstrates a strong academic performance and a commitment to helping grieving families remember, celebrate and heal.

“We believe Tristan will be a caring leader in the next generation of funeral directors,” said Trigard Chief Executive Officer Linda Darby. “We are happy to invest in his education.”

He was awarded a $250 scholarship to help complete his studies. It is one of many scholarships awarded by Trigard each year.

While visiting Worsham College to make the announcement, Darby spoke to students about the changing face of the death care profession. Trigard’s Vice President of Business Development Jeff Miller and Project Manager Blake Swinford also spoke to the class. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

The importance of attending conventions

By Jason Murphy
Director of Family Services, Sunset Funeral Home and Memorial Park

Recently, many of our Trigard Burial Vaults team attend the National Funeral Directors Association(NFDA) convention in Philadelphia. After chatting with a few of them, I hear one thing in common. They all expressed how energized they felt after being around many other people in the industry. 

In my personal experience, I have also found that I get this same sort of refreshed feeling after attending conventions. I am always excited to get back to work and try out the new ideas that I learned about or simply share some of the items that I discussed with my peers. Recharging your battery is great, but I also feel conventions provide other important benefits as well. 

While at conventions, you are able to network with others who may be experiencing some of the same challenges that you face. This allows you to learn what has worked for them… and maybe more importantly, what has not worked. This could possibly save you a ton of time from trying something that is designed to fail. Through networking, you may also have the opportunity to grow your business. Obviously, with Trigard, we are always looking for new opportunities to partner with progressive firms, so these conventions are truly important for us to share our unique burial vaults and urn vaults with the rest of the industry. 

Speaking of networking, I feel that conventions provide a platform for new friendships and connections. I am part of the Illinois Cemetery and Funeral Home Association(ICFHA) Board of Directors. Through this opportunity and the many conventions that I have attended, I have developed strong friendships. These friendships go beyond simply being in the same industry. These friendships help when you need a favor or some good advice. It is always comforting to know that someone is a phone call away and will gladly go out of their way to help you in whatever you need. This is always a better strategy than just “Googling” an answer you that seek. 

My advice would be to attend as many conventions that fit your budget. You never know where a golden nugget is hiding, so allow yourself ample opportunities to find it.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Monday, September 26, 2016

How to Stay Positive in Negative Situations

By Sheryl Baumeister, Trigard Human Resources

Are you tired? Boy, I am!  With all the negativity about who to vote into the White House, standing up or taking a knee during the National Anthem, copy and paste if you love Jesus, “Like” and “Share” to win!

It’s exhausting!  By the end of the day, we find ourselves emotionally drained by all of the negativity around us.  All these negative comments and situations can make us feel frustrated, angry or even tempted to take on a negative attitude.  Instead of doing that, let’s try to rise above it by using a few simple tactics.

1. Focus on you 
Regardless of what others do or say, we can control our own attitude.  Ask yourself why are you reacting this way?

2. Reverse your reaction
When someone is acting in a negative way – yelling, pouting, arguing, being passive aggressive, negative body language – try acting the opposite way.  When you choose a more positive reaction, you’ll feel more positive.

3. Don’t take it personally 
More often than not, another’s negativity isn’t about you.  Maybe the person has had a really bad day and is dealing with a lot of stress you are unaware of.  It’s difficult to know what’s going on in someone else’s head.

4. Stay in the moment
When you focus on what is happening now (not what has happened or could happen), it’s more difficult to feel negative.  Don’t let your negative thoughts and feelings take control.

5. Practice gratitude
When dealing with someone who is being negative, remind yourself of the positive experiences you’ve shared and be thankful for those.

If you are dealing with a completely negative person or situation, be grateful for the opportunity you’ve been given to strengthen your own inner positivity.  It’s an opportunity to practice positive thinking.

Staying positive around negative people is always challenging, but making use of these tactics will make even the most negative interaction easier to face.  Regardless of the situation, it’s up to you to choose a positive attitude.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Friday, September 16, 2016

9/11 Memorial

By Donna Darby-Walthall, Trigard Burial Vaults Chief Financial Officer

We recently passed the 15th anniversary of September 11 – the day when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers in New York City and changed thousands of lives forever. I still have a hard time imagining that other human beings could so intentionally take the lives of many people.

Being an owner of Trigard Burial Vaults, where we wholeheartedly believe in and support memorialization, I am glad to know that a place of remembrance has been created. The 9/11 Memorial honors the people who were lost that very dark day. It offers an opportunity to bring people together, in much of the same way we saw the world come together immediately following the attacks. The Memorial Museum is another way to pay tribute to and remember each victim. It includes a tribute full of pictures, recordings and love notes of all victims. (Take a virtual tour of the museum.)

I have read that men and women who work and volunteer at the Memorial have gotten to personally know the victims through the stories of love and support of the remaining family members.

I truly believe we live in the greatest country in the world and we will not be taken down by terrorists. May we always remember the people who just went to work like any other day and how tragically that work day ended for them. God bless them, their families and you.

Another Look Back
Read Linda Darby's reflection on 9/11 as it relates to Have the Talk of a Lifetime.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Monday, September 12, 2016

Why it's important to make time to give back

By Rich Darby
Trigard Chief Operating Officer

Do you give back? In this fast-paced, dog-eat-dog, try-to-get-ahead-of-the-next-guy world, giving of your time and energy seems impossible, doesn’t it? It is so easy to say, “I can’t because I don’t have time.” If you are this person you may want to rethink your thinking. I have one suggestion for you… MAKE TIME.

You’ll discover that giving your time and talents can be a wonderful stress reliever in your day-to-day whirlwind. There is nothing more satisfying than working for a cause. Whether it’s coaching your child’s sports team, volunteering at church or becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, giving back will be more satisfying than your paying job. 

Do you wonder why that is? I think I have figured it out. I truly believe the satisfaction comes from the fact that giving back is something we CHOOSE to do. Our job is something we MUST do. Now don’t get me wrong; I love going to work. It energizes me, satisfies me, challenges me and rewards me. But giving back completes me. 

When my time comes and I am nothing but a memory, I want my legacy to be that I made a difference in someone’s life. I don’t want my legacy to be about how many businesses we owned or how many awards I have won. I want my legacy to be that Rich Darby walked this earth and that this was his contribution to the world – the sweat equity involved in giving back. 

Our family has always been taught to give back. It started with my grandparents and parents. It continues with me and my siblings. Now, our children are getting involved in our community and giving back.

We own and operate more than 10 different businesses. Wouldn’t it be easy to say we don’t have time? Well here is the real answer:
  • My oldest sister Karen is co-chair of a local business networking group in Sun City West, AZ.
  • Next, my sister Donna volunteers at Camp Healing Heart, a camp for grieving children.
  • My sister Linda is co-chair of the Have the Talk of a Lifetime campaign, a national cause to help the funeral industry as a whole.
  • I am president of Operation Honor Guard, an organization that raises money and supports honor guards nationwide.
  • My brother Scott is involved in a choir in Phoenix, AZ that travels and brings joy to many lives by his singing talent.
Are you reading this and struggling with the question, “Do I really have time to give back?” Again, I will reiterate that you need to make time. It will be the most rewarding and fulfilling part of your day. Thanks for reading! 

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Monday, August 29, 2016

Little things can make a big difference

By Erin Brodbeck, LCSW, CT, Director of Grief Services, Center for Loss & Healing

With all of the tragic events that seem to be happening in the world today, I have been thinking about grief from a larger perspective. What does grief look like on such a large scale? What can we do as an individual to help support one another, not only as citizens of the United States, but as citizens of the world? These are hard and overwhelming questions that don’t really have any straightforward answers.

I’ve had the privilege of working exclusively with grievers for three years now and I have learned that it is the little things that matter. We can do so much with just one little act of compassion and love. It makes more of a difference than we probably will ever know.

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “It won’t really matter. It’s just a little note.” or “I just said I’m sorry. It is not like they haven’t heard that 100 times already.” But it truly does matter. Taking the time to show empathy and support to someone is one of the best things that we can do for each other.

So the next time you are sitting down with a family, try to think of one little thing that you can do for them, even if you think it’s insignificant, and they will think the world of that one simple act of kindness.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

Monday, August 22, 2016

“Your company is only as good as your leadership”

By Linda Darby, Chief Executive Officer

Our management team just attended The Global Leadership Summit which was offered through Willow Creek Church in the Chicago Area. This is the second year our team has been able to participate in this Summit. 

This program always exceeds my expectations! I just loved to be able to take our management team to an event of this caliber. The Summit was simulcasted to different churches (and most recently to our local prison) in the United States and Globally as well. The tag they used when promoting the program this year was “Everyone Wins When a Leader Gets Better.” Stop to think about what that means for a minute…. ok, your minute is up for you Millennials! 

Pastor Bill Hybels’ opening statement was “Your company is only as good as your leadership.” 
That, my friends, is a powerful statement.  I can promise you this series of speakers challenged me and our team of leaders to truly look at ourselves and what we do when leading our company together.  Our hearts' desire is to be the best partner to our clients, employees, vendors and community. (Read more about our mission statement.)

This summit truly gave us the opportunity to “fill our cup.” What are you doing in your organization to grow your leadership team? 

I will close the article with one lasting impact statement John C. Maxwell shared with us, “Intentionally add value to people every day.” That, my friends will make a difference in our families, our businesses and our world. 

Want to learn more? Check out these resources from this year's Summit and free videos from last year's Summit

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at