DEERFIELD, ILL. — July 6, 2016 — Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced two new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Cecelia Barbara Shaffer of Winston-Salem, NC and Justin D. Miller of Monroe, MI. The scholarship was created to meet the educational needs of the increasing number of second-career professionals entering independent funeral service seeking positions as funeral directors and future leaders.
Justin D. Miller owned his own landscaping company, J.D. Miller and Sons in 2008, but knew he had an interest in funeral service when one day, while landscaping for a local funeral home, was asked if he was able to assist with a large service.
“When I arrived the next morning I was nervous, but I closely watched the funeral director and followed his queues. I helped escort the widow outside to her vehicle. Wrapping her arms around me, she thanked me for all that I had done and I will never forget how it made me feel. I knew at that moment, that I had to help people, in this way, every day of my life.”
In August, 2015, Mr. Miller began his professional schooling in the Mortuary Science program at Wayne State University.
“While I knew that this was the best decision for my future, it has been extremely challenging financially, which has been difficult on my family. Thankfully, my family is very supportive of my career path. My wife is a nurse at a local hospital and has worked extra shifts, midnights and days, to support us while I have been attending school. We have two young children currently in elementary school.”