Dear Editor,

Recently the Johnson County Cemetery District Board members voted to charge $400.00 to families wanting burial services on Saturdays. The members pushing that charge were Carolyn Fox, John Ehlers, and John Zorbas, …. Astonishingly the reason behind this new policy declared at the meeting, was to financially punish families to “discourage” Saturday funerals. Unbelievably the Board even pondered cancelling Saturday funerals altogether or just allowing them in the morning only. This charge was to penalize grieving families so the board did not have to employ Saturday overtime help or change their current employee’s time off schedules. I find this utterly disgraceful. The Board fully recognized that 50% of funerals in Johnson County take place on Saturdays. Frequently Saturday is the best day of the week for bereaved families so that as many as possible can gather together - especially if they need to come from afar. After over 40 years of experience serving bereaved families I know there is nothing as healing and emotionally important as the fellowship of the coming together of friends and family - indeed that is at the very heart of funeral purpose. Willow Grove Cemetery, the cemetery board and its staff are a service to this community, not a business. Certainly the board members mentioned do not regard themselves as servants of the community. They fail to recognize that they are stewards who are charged to act in the best interests of the people of Johnson County. Willow Grove Cemetery is where so many of our families, friends and neighbors are buried. It provides an attractive and respectful final place of rest. The cemetery is well funded by a maximum of 3 mils per year. The cemetery has never had to use the complete three mills for operation. I am staggered at the Board’s decision to penalize grieving families at a time when they are in most need of comfort. I find their policy void of compassion, intolerable and totally without merit and should immediately be reversed.

Dave Harness


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