Cemeteries more than just a place

Published 10:12 am Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two days after the guilty verdict for illegal dumping was handed down, South Point business owner Larry Carter sounded like a man who is ready to move forward and refocus on serving the community.

Carter, the owner of Highland Memorial Gardens in South Point, was found guilty on Monday and on Wednesday was sentenced to four years probation, fines and other stipulations.

Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for Carter and allow him to reflect on how he operates the cemetery. For years, Highland has been a popular destination for families to inter their loved ones. However, in addition to the dumping charges, many have expressed concern and anger over how Carter handles the cemetery.

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Now is time for Carter to move forward and to refocus on what it takes to operate his business. This is the perfect opportunity for him to analyze every aspect of operating a cemetery and exactly what that means for families who expect their loved ones’ resting places to be well maintained, properly cared for and to be able to visit and adorn gravesites the way they want.

In some ways operating a cemetery is likely similar to operating other businesses. However, in many other ways it is a unique business unto itself and special considerations must be paid to customers, in this case grieving families dealing with tragedy and loss in what is often the most difficult times of their lives.

Carter would be smart to be cognizant of that and to use this experience to move forward regardless of his thoughts and beliefs on the legality of the things that he did and whether or not the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was correct in its assessment of this illegal dumping. That point has become moot.

In life, it is often the case that we are not judged upon our mistakes but rather judged by how we respond and overcome those errors in judgment. This is the opportunity for Larry Carter to show the community, and the families who place their loved ones’ graves in his trust, exactly how he will do that.