James Barnhart of Okeechobee, FL was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 21, 2014. $1,500 was paid toward his funeral service education.
Barnhart is expected to graduate in December from Miami Dade College’s Funeral Service Education Program in Miami. Formerly a licensed insurance agent who began working in preneed sales in 2005 at Buxton and Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home and Crematory in Okeechobee, Barnhart’s role was expanded as his passion for funeral service grew. When it became clear he would serve the firm best as a funeral director, he made the decision to fully pursue the profession and return to school.
“It is a blessing that the Selected Trust offers this scholarship for adults making a midlife career change, as we struggle with the same financial issues as the younger generation who have just graduated high school,” said Barnhart. “To know that I had both a professor and a licensed Funeral Director write letters of recommendation on my behalf and then to be chosen one of three recipients from all submissions is a great honor,” he added. “It will help tremendously toward achieving my goal of becoming a licensed Funeral Director and continuing to work for Buxton and Bass in my hometown.”
Paul Buxton, who submitted a letter in support of his application, referred to Barnhart as a “worthy candidate” for the scholarship and “one of the most inspired individuals I have ever met.”