DeLAND, Fla. – Employees at one Volusia County business are helping people through one of the hardest parts of their lives while making a difference in the community.
Staff members at Unity Funeral Home in DeLand are helping people navigate the new way of saying goodbye to their loved ones in the age of COVID-19.
“It’s a tough time for everybody right now,” licensed funeral director Angela Dallas-Johnson said.
While serving families, they’re also making sure loved ones know that despite funeral capacities being limited now and more livestreams replacing in-person services, the pandemic wont stop their generosity, although it’s been a difficult time for their business, too.
“We let them know that we’re here for you, and we’re going to do the best that we can,” licensed funeral director Dawn-Johnson Myles said. “We’re hurting just like you’re hurting, and to see other people hurting, and know that we can’t comfort them the way that we usually would with a hug or a pat on the back like we usually would.”
Cathy Williams raved about the generosity of the staff at Unity Funeral Home. She buried her father, grandfather and so many others, she said, thanks to the family-operated business, and she appreciates how they’re helping so many other families during these tough times.
“They’re just a helping organization,” Williams said. “You can trust them. They will guide you when you don’t know what to do.”
I'm excited about tonight's #BlackBusinessSpotlight. This time we're highlighting a funeral home's journey navigating loss during a pandemic, and its message of generosity that's keeping the community alive. Only on @news6wkmg at 6pm. #RootedInCentralFlorida pic.twitter.com/E66C54eTL4— Jerry Askin (@JerryAskinNews6) August 26, 2020
The faces behind the family-run business go beyond planning funerals. They’re also known for hosting events for kids and mentoring them.
“The message that we’re giving them is, we don’t want them to come meet us too early, because of the decisions they’ve made,” Johnson-Myles said.
They teach kids to make good decisions and they guide misguided youth.
“Even though we are in the death care business, we are into speaking life into people also, and we want to let them know they are loved and they are somebody. My granddaddy always told us that,” Johnson-Myles said.
Johnson-Myles said her family also taught her to stand up for what they believe in and they have, taking part in recent Black Lives Matters protests throughout Volusia County.
Throughout the month of August and beyond News 6 and ClickOrlando.com will highlight some of the Black-owned businesses in Central Florida and the impact they are making in the community. Learn more at ClickOrlando.com/blackbiz.