Jim Rudolph: Cracking the code to veteran service

Being raised in a home “that was Army-Army-Army everything” built a strong foundation of respect within Jim Rudolph for veterans and the service they give their country. It also afforded him the luxury of naturally being able to “speak veteran” from a young age in a way that many others can take years to figure out.

Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, Fla.He used that knowledge and calling to establish the nation’s first veteran-specific funeral home, Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, Florida. Later, he expanded their mission, launching the Veterans Funeral Care Provider Network, a group of more than 160 funeral homes across 34 states dedicated to putting in the work to properly serve those who served us.

“The ethos is ‘We don’t talk about it’,” Jim says of the military’s culture regarding their own medals and awards. He says in his experience, even when their closest family and friends directly ask about the honors displayed on their uniform, servicemen and women will simply shrug it off without a clear answer.

“We either know as funeral directors what they are or we bury the secrets of those medal racks every day in national cemeteries all around the country and no one ever tells the priest, the pastor, the wife, the mom—it’s pitiful.”

Many funeral directors shy away from even trying to work with veterans and their families because they don’t understand the proper procedures, from reading a DD-214 to what death benefits veterans are entitled to.

Use the player below to listen to Jim’s episode of OGR’s “What’s Your Edge?” podcast as he breaks down everything you need to know. You can also listen on your phone, which is easier than ever as we’re now available on most major podcast streaming platforms. Take your pick from whichever is most convenient for you:

You can get even more detailed information and resources by enrolling in the two-part Veterans Funeral Care Workshop through OGR. OGR members can sign up for one session for $125 or $199 for both; non-members can get one session for $175 or both for $299.

Take both sessions and you may be eligible to join the VFC Provider Network. For an annual fee, these licensed providers can use the Veterans Funeral Care logo, receive marketing materials, attend roundtable discussions and a yearly providers' Think Tank, plus take part in VFC’s proprietary programs “Retire Your Flag with Honor” and “Operation Toy Soldier.” OGR members receive a 15% discount on the annual licensing fee. Reach out to Nancy Weil with any questions.

Season 2 of the Digital Dialogue Series is sponsored by The Dodge Company, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of preparation room supplies, and an OGR Endorsed Supplier.

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