An Interview with Monument Counselor, Damian Smith


Setting a Memory in Stone

Having a flat grave marker or monument created are two ways to represent a loved one’s final resting place. Although with more people preferring to be cremated, not everyone finds it necessary to have a flat grave marker or monument made. For those who are interested in these options, here is a brief introduction to grave markers and monuments.

Grave markers are flat bronze plaques that are installed on a granite stone base for the purpose of identifying the deceased. Monuments are upright for the same identification purpose. There are many different styles and types of flat grave markers and monuments available, with different designs, granite options, and personalization options. Because monuments provide more space, more can be personalized in terms of shape, size, and inscription. Whether you choose one over the other, it is a sure way to show that the deceased was loved and continues to be remembered.

Monument Counselor of Our Culpeper Chapel, Damian Smith

Damian has been in the funeral industry since 2010. He joined Found and Sons Culpeper Chapel in November 2014 as a Funeral Assistant, Crematory Operator, and Monument Counselor. He is a native of Richmond and currently resides in Madison County with his wife, Trinity, and son, Noah. Damian is a funeral service intern with hopes of completing his funeral service education in the near future.

How long have you been a Monument Counselor at Found and Sons?

I began my career in the funeral industry in November 2010. My first 4 years were in Louisa and I have been with Found and Sons close to 6 years. I have been a Monument Counselor for about 4 years.

What type of monuments do you tend to recommend to families and why?

All of the monuments we sell are granite, but the finishes vary. The finish that I recommend the most is a polished face because they are the standard base. That finish helps protect and preserve the stone over time and environmental changes.

What’s the most rewarding part of the process when helping families with their monuments?

The most rewarding part of the process is when I am able to meet with the family to learn more about them and what their loved one enjoyed in life. Once I have that information, I then create a proof of the monument to share with the family. It’s nice to see a family’s reaction when they are satisfied with the proof. It’s rewarding to capture the essence of a person and create something that will last for years to come.

What’s the most elaborate monument that you were able to assist a family with?

My favorite monument that I’ve had the honor to work on is the monument that I made for Cynthia Godfrey. I arrived at the home of Cynthia Godfrey after her passing, and quickly noticed a beautiful wall border of trees and leaves that Cynthia had painted. That inspired the design of the monument. I presented the proof to her daughter, Christi, and she loved it. I’m glad that I was able to assist by incorporating the design into the monument.

What is one common misconception that families have when it comes to having a monument made?

A lot of the families do not realize there are rules and regulations at each cemetery with regards to size, height, placement, and what is on the monument. I often find that they are unaware of how creative we can be when designing the monument.

If there was one thing that you could tell a family about monuments, what would it be?

One thing I would like to emphasize to families is the importance of patience. When ordering a monument, there is a turn around time of 3 months from the date it is approved. If you are in a position to plan ahead in regard to designing and ordering a monument, then I would encourage you to do so.

Is there anything else that you would like to inform people about?

Monuments are not limited to gravesites. Monuments can also be placed at residential entrances, parks, business storefronts, possibilities are endless. Come meet with me and together we can think outside the box to create something unique to you or your business.

Do you work closely with the VFW, American Legion, Sheriff’s Departments, and Cemeteries?

I work closely with the VFW, American Legion, Sheriff’s Departments, and Cemeteries on both a personal and professional level. Found and Sons donates to all of these organizations. Most recently I created a monument for Emergency Services. We are working closely with the VFW on a monument for the near future.

When you aren’t assisting with families or helping families with monuments, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I spend time with my family. Metal detecting is my most enjoyable hobby when I am away from work. I look forward to finding relics and researching the objects to learn more about them and that time period.

What is one quote that you have lived by?

“Treat others as you would like to be treated.” I may not always follow through, but it is something that I try to live by daily.

To see more monuments by Damian on our website or to set up an appointment, click here. We look forward to assisting you in creating a monument that best represents your loved one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful customized monument that is set in Fairview Cemetery in Culpeper, VA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granite Stone Options for Monuments

Rolling Up Our Sleeves

We Did It!

Last Friday we hosted our third blood drive at our Culpeper Chapel. Our blood drive goal was to collect 24 units of blood and thankfully, we exceeded our goal by ten extra units of blood! The support of our community during this time has been inspiring. To everyone who attended the drive, thank you for donating. We had no idea how important this drive would be when we scheduled it 3 months ago. 

Right now, the American Red Cross has an ongoing critical need for blood product donations as uncertainties remain during this coronavirus pandemic. Blood drives continue to be canceled at an alarming rate and patients need a sufficient blood supply throughout the many weeks of this crisis and beyond. Healthy individuals are needed to schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead to help patients counting on lifesaving blood, platelets or AB Elite plasma. If you weren’t able to donate at our drive, we encourage you to donate at other drives within Culpeper and Fredericksburg.

 

Doug and Carolyn Found have been giving blood consistently since Doug was 26!

Nothing but smiles from these donors!

Type O, A Negative or B Negative Donors

If you are the Type O, A Negative, or B Negative you have the ability to give back even more through a Power Red donation. Power Red is similar to a whole blood donation, except a special machine is used to allow you to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning your plasma and platelets to you.

  • Why should you do it? You may already know about the ongoing need for blood and the importance of your blood donations. Whole blood donations contain red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and white blood cells. Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood component and are needed by almost every type of patient requiring transfusion. If you meet certain criteria, Power Red allows you to safely donate two units of red cells during one appointment as an automated donation process. It is as safe as a whole blood donation.
  • How is it different? During your Power Red, blood is drawn from one arm through an automated process. The machine separates and collects two units of red cells and then safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you through the same arm.
  • Save time and make your blood donation go further: If you are extremely busy, committed to donating blood and an eligible type O, A negative or B negative donor, Power Red may be ideal for you. Each procedure lets you give more of the product that is needed most by patients. Power Red (double red cell donation) takes approximately 30 minutes longer than a whole blood donation and you can donate approximately every four months.
  • Feel better: With all of your platelets and plasma returned to you along with some saline, you don’t lose the liquid portion of your blood and may feel more hydrated after your donation.

We hope that everyone is doing well during this time of uncertainty. To learn more about our upcoming drives and to get signed up early, contact Todd Breeden at [email protected]. Until next time, #stayhome, #staysafe, and #staypositive.

Honoring The Fallen Officers of Fredericksburg, VA

In the Fall of 2017, Fredericksburg Police Chief David Nye came to Found and Sons of Fredericksburg to inquire about have a memorial built in honor of the fallen police officers of the Fredericksburg Police Department. Chief Nye and Captain Purcell were hands on and involved throughout the almost 8 month process. Monument Counselor and Funeral Assistant, Jeremy Grimes, assisted with the design of the memorial and arranged for the foundation, walkway, landscaping, and delivery.

The names of people and businesses that donated to the cost of the memorial.


The monument and its 7 pieces weighed close to 4 tons. The right and left wings and 4 bases were made out of Rockville granite while India Black was used for the central piece. The height of the monument is 9 feet and it is 12 feet long.

Companies instrumental in bringing the project to a successful conclusion were Christiana Karsky with Cold Springs Granite for the monument fabrication and delivery, Chris Iannarelli with All Seasons Landscaping and Irrigation for the foundation installation, walkway and accent lighting, Paul with Coleman Motor Company for offloading the delivered parts of the monument and later hoisting each piece in place, Burt Bugoney engineering for the required  structural engineering of the foundation, DJ Smith of DJ’s Stoneworks and Engraving for engraving walkway bricks, and Riverside Bricks for getting the bricks onsite.

Pictured from left to right: Detective Alexandra Tittle, Officer Jennifer Moore, Officer Joseph Young, Officer Donald “Lee” Ridenour, Sergeant Rashawn Cowles
Pictured from left to right: Captain Purcell, Funeral Director Raymond Rhodes, Funeral Assistant and Monument Counselor Jeremy Grimes, Funeral Director Julie Found, Chief Nye
It was an honor for us to be a part of this project. We would like to thank Chief Nye and Captain Purcell for contacting us and trusting us in helping create something monumental for the town of Fredericksburg. This memorial shall stand to honor the fallen officers of Fredericksburg for years to come.

An Interview with Owner & Funeral Director, Scott Found


How long have you been a funeral director?

I have been a licensed FD since 1991 and involved in the funeral business since I was 13 years old.

What led you to this profession?

Following my brother Sam’s footsteps.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

For the past 5 years as an owner, I spend most of my day concerned with the operations of Found and Sons. My main concern is always “is it best for our clients?”. I also try my best to be fair with employees and contractors.

What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?

As an owner, the most rewarding part of my job is supporting community projects that help the youth, veterans and the elderly. As a Funeral Director, the most rewarding part of my job was knowing that I made a very difficult time easier for a family that was struggling with a loss.

What is one misconception that you think people have about funeral directors?

Funeral Directors can sometimes be thought of as not caring or not emotional. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Do we become desensitized to the acute trauma of death? Yes. But, good funeral directors grieve with you, internally. While we may not have all the outward signs of grief, we feel the pain of each family and we internalize the stories and sadness.

If there is one thing that you could inform people about in regard to this industry, what would it be?

There is nothing wrong with price shopping. In today’s economy, every dollar counts. The best question you can ask a funeral director is: What is the bottom line? Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples as pricing structures can vary from funeral home to funeral home.

What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming a funeral director?

Funeral directing is not your normal profession. Do not expect a 9 – 5 job with weekends off, funeral directors serve those in need 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

How does being a funeral director play into your life compared to having a “normal” job How do you manage to keep a good balance of work life and personal life?

The hours of a funeral director can make normal life difficult. You have to be prepared to miss important life events in order to serve the community. It took me 25 years to learn how to balance work and personal time, and I’m not sure I have figured it out yet.

What do you enjoy most about working and living/working in the Culpeper? What are some things that you enjoy doing in the area?

The people and the land is what makes the Culpeper area so awesome to work and live. Folks are down to earth and honest for the most part and the country vistas are beyond compare.

Who is one person that inspires you? What is one quote that inspires you? I seek inspiration daily from many places but most importantly from my family. My twins inspire me to be a better father and person every day. My parents provide wise counsel in my ventures as a new dad and as an example of the ups and downs in a marriage and raising a “Found”. My wife, Jennifer provides me with inspiration to keep going when I want to quit or get down. My favorite quote is “The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

 

An Interview with Funeral Director, Jennifer Found


How long have you been a funeral director? What were you before you became a funeral director?

I became a licensed funeral director in Pennsylvania in 1998 and then Virginia in 1999. It’s all I’ve ever done since I graduated high school in 1993. During the period between college and Mortuary school I worked at an undergarment company called Bestform.

What led you to this profession? 

I wanted to be a medical examiner or pathologist at first but during my first semester of college I realized I couldn’t handle 10 years of college and went to a funeral home to try it out and have been doing it ever since.

What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do? 

When a family thanks you for all that you’ve done and tells you that you’ve made the process a lot easier than expected.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

There’s no such thing as a typical day, honestly. I could make arrangements at 10:00 AM, embalm at noon then clean the chapel to get ready for a visitation then possibly go on a removal and make arrangements again. If it’s not that, I could sit at my desk catching up on paper work for a solid 8 hours. It’s something different everyday. No service is the same. No families are the same. You have to be good at multi-tasking and talking with people.

What is one misconception that you think people have about funeral directors?

That funeral directors are just directors. People don’t think that we also scrub bathrooms, embalm, put on makeup and casket people. We also put up and take down tents if we need to, mark off graves in the cemeteries, fill in as pallbearers, shovel snow, wash cars, etc.

If there is one thing that you could inform people about in regard to this industry, what would it be?

That funeral directors work long, hard hours. We do this because it is gratifying to help those when they need it most.

What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming a funeral director?

I always encourage everyone to follow their dreams. Educate yourself and just start working part time at a funeral home to get a preview of what your life will be like. It’s a lot of crazy hours and you really have to dedicate yourself to the profession, but it is a very rewarding career.

How does being a funeral director play into your life compared to having a “normal” job How do you manage to keep a good balance of work life and personal life?

It’s very hard to plan things. You just never know what you’ll be doing from one moment to the next. Your emotions get involved and it’s hard to shut things off in your head sometimes. When you wake up in the middle of the night and your singing, “How Great thou Art” in your head, you know it’s time for a mental health day.

What do you enjoy most about living in Culpeper?

I love Culpeper. I really believe this is where I’m meant to be. I love the small town atmosphere and getting to know everyone in the community. What are some things that you enjoy doing in the area? I love taking the kids to the parks, including Mountain Run  Lake. I love hiking the beautiful mountains we have like Old Rag and White Oak Falls, and most of all I enjoy eating at all of Culpeper’s fabulous restaurants.

Who is one person that inspires you/what is one quote that inspires you?

My husband inspires me.  His positive attitude and great work ethic if the reason this funeral home has done so well.  He loves his community and loves to give back to his community and all the family’s we serve. He was and still is my mentor.  He taught me everything I know and I am grateful for that.