Cops enjoy shopping with kids

The Cops and Kids shopping program was a huge success this year as more than 200 children were invited to take part in the shopping spree at the Alco Store in Versailles on Saturday, December 17. Pictured above, Lt. Randy Holt of the Ripley County Sheriff's Office participated in the event, as two children who didn't know each other, conferred on their gifts. The officer pictured with Lt. Holt is ISP Trooper Kevin Riodan. Pictured below, Deputy Corky Houseworth, also of the sheriff's office, paused for a quick photo as the children he had helped were getting ready to leave the store. Jeff Thielking, secretary for the local Fraternal Order of Police noted there were about 100 more children this year than last. He noted all the different law enforcement agencies of the county were represented at the event.

Wanda English Burnett

The addition of 3200 square feet to Neal’s Funeral Home in Osgood has provided the space needed to serve the community at their time of need, according to Lila Neal, owner of the funeral home.

At an open house/remembrance service held Sunday, December 11 Neal told those gathered, “I love this community. The reason I built this (expansion/renovation) is to make it better for you at your time of need.”

The ceremony was held with candles being lit by Linda Bruce, funeral home employee, in honor of those who had lost loved ones over the past year. As Neal stood before those gathered she told them she was wearing a necklace and earrings that belonged to her late mother, Jo Coyle. She told them she understands their grief.

The expansion of the funeral home will serve the community with the ability to hold more people with the Chapel alone accommodating 150. Additional rooms equipped with large screen televisions, also provide space that can hold an additional 80 people. The color tones of the Chapel bring warmth and comfort to families as they grieve. The other rooms are equipped with large screen TV’s that allow for photos and videos to be played for services as was demonstrated at the end of the remembrance service on Sunday when Silent Night was played with a variety of picture messages to compliment the song.

The Ripley County Chamber of Commerce was on hand to welcome Neal’s Funeral Home’s latest expansion and thank them for being a vital part of the community. Town board president Linda Krinop spoke at the opening ceremony thanking the funeral home for their dedication. Board member DeeDee Holliday said, “Lila, job well done,” to which the crowd applauded.

Lila Neal has been serving the community for 25 years. Her son, Travis, is now in mortuary school and will hopefully carry on the tradition for years to come, although Lila reminded him at the open house that she isn’t quite ready to give up helping others in their time of grief just yet. “I care deeply for each of you,” she told those gathered in the spacious room.

The funeral home has quadrupled in size with the large renovation/addition project that boasts additional restrooms, spacious kitchen and a covered patio area that will be in use in warmer weather. The existing funeral home also received a face lift, with upgrades in every room.

Neal’s staff includes: Ed Wolfe, Linda Bruce, Kenny Harlemert and Ona Peetz. Her family was in attendance at the open house on Sunday and includes: sons, Travis and wife, Toya; Fred and wife Alesha; daughter Shannon and husband, Jeff McLeod. Her husband, Bill, was not able to attend Sunday due to a medical issue. She thanked all of them for their support over the years and welcomes Travis as he begins his mortuary school journey.

Neal told the Osgood Journal she is planning to have a remembrance service each year for those who have lost family members. She knows the holidays are a particularly hard time and plans to have the service at that time to help those remember their loved one and know there are others who care for them in their time of sorrow.

Pictured at below Linda Bruce, employee of Neal's Funeral Home, lights candles at a remembrance service on Sunday, December 12. Above the Ripley County Chamber of Commerce participated in a ceremony at an open house also held Sunday. Pictured above from left are: Ed Wolfe, employee of Neal's Funeral Home, Alesha Neal, representing the chamber, and also Lila's daughter-in-law, Travis Neal, Lila's son and mortician in training, Lila Neal, owner of the funeral home, Linda Bruce and Ona Peetz, employees of the funeral home, and Amy Thomas, executive director of the chamber.