MANASSAS – The words “funeral director” carry a heavy connotation
And 100 percent untrue.
The funeral business is one of the least celebrated professions – ironic
Taking the good with the bad
When Bernard Ames opened Ames Funeral Homes in Manassas in July 1959,
Luckily, they had a backup plan in case it never took off.
“People in the olden days, they tried to keep folks out of the
Ames held various jobs, including work in construction and at the post
Ames, who has now been licensed for more than 50 years, attended Eckels
The state requires funeral directors to earn a 12-month certificate
As in many cases, Ames’ involvement in funeral directing stemmed from
“I think most of the people who get the opportunity and get over
“This is a service for the people, and it’s a service someone has
How many people take this positive point of view? Judging by the numerous
The public’s perception of death provides the most obvious misunderstanding.
“You’d have to say it does get emotionally tough,” he said.
“A fireman hates fires, but the fact that he fights to save a life
Ames said there’s also a misunderstanding over the cost of funerals,
“But I think the greatest misconception is that the public is not
“The best person you can get your answers from is a funeral director,”
And as long as the myths exist, there likely will never be a shortage
A calling to ease the burden of grief
Don Price could probably sit in his office and talk about grief for
Price – who likens himself to a minister or priest – learned as a 17-year-old
The child he worked on was a 7-year-old boy who had been electrocuted
It also gave him a sense of purpose.
“This is a business that if you’re not put here to do it, you won’t
Price has seemingly made it his mission to ease as much suffering as
“Sometimes it’s three months, six months before [the family] realizes
Price has seen how a seemingly stable support system can crumble when
“Anything people don’t understand fully, they fear,” he explained.
As an aid, Price Funeral Home established support groups for people
“People think if they go to a support group they’ll be put on a
There’s no denying an element of stress exists in a business of death.
Price expresses gratitude for the work he and his family are doing.
“I think I’m probably one of the luckiest people in the world in
A new generation
You know how the story goes: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love.
Just your typical love tale – at least in the case of Todd and Susan
The Wolfes represent a new wave of funeral directors, both because they
“This is a field where a lot of people have an interest simply
Which probably accounts for the increase in younger people attending
But the Wolfes are still the exception, not the rule. And while she
She recalled a family pulling her aside following a service one afternoon
“We were taking bets on how old you are,” the family told
“I said, ‘I’m 25,’ and they said, ‘You’re very mature for your
“Everyone likes to second-guess me,” said Lori Blasius, a
“I answer the phone and people say, ‘Can I speak to the funeral
Blasius, a PIMS classmate of Todd and Susan, joined her father Clifford
She said that her job can be overwhelming at times, but she has managed
“I think the most difficult part is having a family. I wouldn’t
“I’m on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days out of
It’s a common attitude in the business. Despite the myths that exist,
Across from Price’s desk in his office is a standard water cooler. The
It reads, “Almost Heaven.”
·Contact Emily Kuhl at [email protected]
The county may today come one step closer in creating a new bureau that
But even if the Prince William Board of County Supervisors approve the
A tourism study group who drafted the articles of incorporation and
The county contributes 3 percent of its hotel-tax revenues toward tourism,
Liz Barnes, director of communications for Prince William County, said
Some critics have said the inequity of money contributed by the county
In response, Manassas officials said they want to be part of the bureau
But it’s not ironclad.
Manassas City Manager Larry Hughes will meet with county officials Friday
Hughes said city council members have made no public comment on how
“This is something that has to be worked out,” Hughes said.
There is room for discussion, but Hughes wouldn’t say how high the city
There is frustration felt among city officials who realize that Manassas
Whether or not the city has a seat on the board, the infrastructure
County officials hope the non-profit organization will be in operation
County supervisors recommended last year that a new organization take
When the bureau takes over this summer, four employees under the Park
Tabitha Mullins, the current director of tourism, and one full-time
The tourism bureau will be governed by the board of directors, seven
Two additional members will be recommended by the Prince William County
The last member will come from the city only if an agreement on monetary
Although the members of the area’s rowing community organized to support
Developers, who want to put 300 houses on 320 acres near the end of
The project would be part of the development of a town center near the
Tom Moulen, of Manassas, said he’s been rowing on the Occoquan for 30
“I’ve probably seen the Occoquan change more than anyone. I don’t
“This is really the last opportunity that we have for public access
Fairfax County has access for public rowing available at Fountain Regional
Jack Kooyoomjian, who described himself as a citizen volunteer on past
“You’ve got to make sure that not only are the proffers solid,
Harold Harris, of 4435 Prince William Parkway, is more pessimistic about
“If they want to row, they should by some land, build a boathouse
“This committee is nothing but whitewash. The county staff and
Jesse Oaks, chairman of the Sector Planning Committee, said the committee
“We’d like to get input from as many people as we can. We have
Oaks said the committee will be considering ideas on the entire project
An Osbourn High School student is to be charged with harassment by computer.
The case began on Jan. 31 when a female student approached School Resource
“Any time you get a large group of students together disagreements
“These girls have had confrontations before,” Cash said, although
Manassas police and school resource officers worked closely with the
The High Technology Investigative Unit were able to identify the culprit
“Young people feel that they can be anonymous on the Internet but
As awareness of computer crimes grows Caldwell believes that more police
“Many local law enforcement agencies are setting up computer crime
Caldwell pointed out some of the dangers of the Internet.
“We have had many cases of young people being threatened over the
Caldwell says that part of the problem is that young people do not know
“This was very scary for the girls involved,” said Caldwell.
Police searched the homes of three Osbourn students believed to be involved
Graham did not give details on what would happen to the student, although
“We take all threats very seriously,” said Graham. “I
Or, rolls as the case may be.
The faces belonged to the students at Stonewall Jackson High School
The robot will face off against others of its kind at this year’s FIRST
Teams have six weeks to brainstorm, design, construct and test their
Stonewall is a rookie in this year’s regional competition. About 30
Students were not sure they would even get this far with the robot,
Like the other teams taking part in the competition, Stonewall started
“When the box came with all the materials, everybody said, ‘We
They thought the teachers would pull out of the competition.
But they didn’t.
Hampton said with teamwork and the help of the engineers and mentors,
“We were happy we finally saw it moving,” he said of the robot.
Taking a turn at the controls, Hampton guided the robot, sending it
Stonewall’s robot looks somewhat like a platform on wheels, with vertical
It uses electronic, pneumatic and mechanical devices to perform its
The team and its 5-foot tall robot will compete at the NASA Langley
In addition to playing ball at the competition, students must guide
“That’s the easy part,” said Kevin Surber, a team mentor and
“When we get to VCU, we get paired up with three different teams,”
FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science
That mission is alive at Stonewall.
Chris Pauley, a sophomore, hopes to go into engineering one day. Working
“It’s very interesting, very new,” Pauley said.
Taking part in the competition got him working on the designing and
“I’ve never done anything like this,” he said.
Is he still interested in engineering after this experience?
“Yes, definitely,” Pauley said.
At Monday night’s work session, mentor Walter Hubbell, a civil engineer,
“Hmm. That could work,” Pauley said.
Mentor Larry Jackson, an electrical engineer with Lockheed Martin, said
But, with only six weeks, time is limited and the mentors are having
Mimi Nguyen, a system software engineer with Lockheed, added that this
“They’re the driving force behind wanting to make this work,”
Not all students on the team are technology wizards, and they don’t
Rhina Ascencio, a 10th-grader, said she has little experience with technology,
In addition to working on the robot, Ascencio helped create the team’s
“This is a stepping stone for me to get a glimpse of what this
She is writing a chronology of the team, which calls itself Technohazard,
Students’ comments have been positive, she said.
“Some people said it was a good way to meet people and do something
And in her view, “It’s kind of cool being here than being at home.”
Also, students have had to learn to make group decisions and work with
Plus, “We have developed a special relationship with the teachers,”
For more information on the competition, check out FIRST’s Web site
· Contact Tiffany Schwab at [email protected]