What’s up, babies?
I hope, you enjoyed reading about the Frost Media App last week and all it has to offer. I’m still looking forward to hearing from you and seeing your beautiful smiles. And, as always, I hope that you’re still taking time out of your days to bring yourself and others some well deserved joy, beauty, happiness and some form of peace of mind, as we travel on our journey of love, to get to know one another better. On that note, let’s celebrate life and how precious it is but we all know that with life, comes death. Some home going’s are truly beautiful because they were planned in advance exactly to the specification of the deceased and/or, what a loved one(s) thought they’d like to have.
Then, there are those that cannot be planned in advance because their deaths happened so suddenly and unexpected such as with the killings of our youth, which totally saddens my heart. But with me being a realist, I know that it is what it is and now I’d like to introduce you to someone—someone who’s the kindest, most understanding person whom I know within the funeral industry. And, believe me, I know a lot of them and she’s in a league of her own because of her passion that truly comes from GOD. So right now, all we want you to do is just sit back, relax and enjoy as you get to know more about Carmen and what she stands for and this is what she has to say:
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Carmen Hicks and I was born and raised here in Fort Wayne, so I’m home grown. I graduated from North Side High School, obtained my associates degree in business administration at International Business College. I worked at I&M for about 10 years then I went back to college and picked up my bachelor’s degree at Indiana Wesleyan University and now I’m the owner of Hicks Caskets, Monuments & More that’s located at 208 E. Pettit Ave., Suite 66 in Southgate Plaza.
“What I do here is, I cater to the public for all of their needs once a loved one had departed and I save them lots of money, ranging from $500 to literally thousands on caskets, vaults, urns and monument headstones.
“I took this business over in September 2013. The previous owner was relocating to Indianapolis and called me to see what I thought about taking over this business and I was like, ‘Wow!’ because I hadn’t thought of it on this level, although my passion is in this field. I said, let me think about it, let me pray about it, let me talk with my husband George about it and with this coming out of the blue, GOD did it so quickly, that I didn’t have time to doubt or think about it really hard. Within three weeks, I had formed my L.L.C. and I was up and running and it was my own, it was a done deal.
“I’ve been in this industry for 10 years. I’ve worked at various funeral homes and cemeteries so I’m very familiar with the ins and outs of this business and it’s not just selling caskets for me, it‘s a total ministry. For me to be able to sit down with a grieving family when they’re going through one of the most difficult times in their life, it’s priceless. So that’s my passion because my heart is there with them. A lot of times, with casket retail stores, they are in it for the selling, selling and more selling but here, that’s not my mindset.
“In the past, people could only purchase their merchandise from the funeral homes but now, due to some law changes, people can actually purchase outside of the funeral homes and they’d say, ‘I didn’t know we could do that.’ The Federal Trade Commission has set laws in place where families have a choice and I take joy in serving these families because like I said, it’s a ministry to me and serving families is what I do. My motto is ‘Our family serving your family with compassion, dignity and integrity’ and that’s what I offer here.
“Believe it or not, I was one that was always afraid of caskets. Whether they had someone in them or if they were empty. So you’re looking at a miracle, a total miracle because my family will all tell you that, all my life I was terrified of caskets. I couldn’t go to a viewing or anything like that because I felt like the person was going to pop up in the back seat and I was just that fearful of them. And, how this change all came about is, my husband was working for one of the local funeral homes part-time as a volunteer because he also like serving families and they needed someone to do their pre-arrangements. They wanted me because they knew that I know how to talk to people. But I was terrified of the thought and for three months they kept asking me and for three months I said, no.
“Finally one day I said, and I remember this like it was this morning, ‘Lord if this is something that you have for me, another phase in life, you’ve got to do something with my spirit because I’m so petrified.’ The thought of me working at a funeral home broke me out in hives, that were really bad all over. I was stressed out and my nerves were just horrible. I did start working there and I was just terrified and the owner said, I need to give you a key. I replied, I don’t need a key because I will never come here by myself, never! And, as time went on, it was really an interesting experience because GOD took my greatest fear and turned it into my greatest passion and it just blows my mind. There are days that I just sit here and look around and think, ‘GOD are you serious?’ My family thinks it totally unbelievable that I have this business because they know how I use to be and they say, ‘I know there is a GOD’ because they know how bad it was.
“Now I’m going to take you step by step, of what you need to do, when you have lost a loved one: Choose the funeral home of your choice and call them because the loved one will have to be picked up and taken there. Then, I always suggest that before the arrangement time the funeral home has set with you, to meet with me first, because what happens sometimes when you go to the funeral homes, you may feel pressured and that you don’t have another choice. They also want you to feel a sense of urgency, that you have to do it now and here. But with me, there is no pressure because I’m here to take pressure off and allow you to choose. I also give you the freedom that, if you go to the funeral home and for some reason you feel you just need to stay with them, I understand and I’m still praying for your family but I just now that I’m able to save you money and we’ll take good care of you.
“Another reason that I’m so adamant about Hicks Caskets, Monuments & More is because in addition to the casket and everything else, I also do funeral pre-planning and I’m really passionate about that as well. Because it takes so much stress off the family and you’re thinking more clearly because you’re not on your deathbed. So, we can plan this out and you can set up payments. We put this in a Funeral Trust so then the family doesn’t have to go through any unnecessary burdens at that time. In addition to everything here, I also provide life insurance because so many families have none and unfortunately with things happening to our young black men, some have nothing to start off with. So I’ve been talking with the community about the importance of having Life Insurance and that’s part of the ‘More’ in my business name.
“I’m putting in this awareness, that I am here because a lot of people don’t know it yet and I want the opportunity to give you good quality merchandise and save you money at the same time. You can reach us by telephone (260) 744-0054 or on our website www.hickscaskets.com. Business hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays by appointment only, closed Sunday’s. However, even though I have set hours I will work around your schedule so I’m flexible as well, to cater to you. Funerals can be very costly and it’s an expensive buy, so I suggest you come see me and we’ll sit down and talk about it and let me show you how I can serve you.”
Now in closing I say, fantastic job, Carmen, and I’m so proud of you. And, with your personality, warmth and passion GOD did good, yes HE did! So until next week, you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to hear from ya.
P.P.S. I’d like to thank all of you who have been sending me e-mails to give me some feedback on our journey. Keep up the good work and to those who haven’t please feel free to do so because I’d love to hear from you too.