After this week’s shooting in Parkland, a local funeral home owner extended an offer —free funeral services for the victims.
The shooting was a little too close to home.
Rory Epstein runs the family-owned Eden Funeral Services. He said when he heard the news of Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School he could think only of his nephew.
“His name is Zach Randolph and he’s a sophomore at Stoneman Douglas,” Epstein said. “But then he texted all of us [that] he was in a room, he was OK.”
Epstein said that as the death toll of 17 people became clear, he knew he had to help in some way.
The family “immediately decided that if anybody contacted us about cemetery, etc., that there would be no charge, and we’re not charging, period,” Epstein said.
His son Keith Epstein, who also works at the funeral home, is a graduate of Stoneman Douglas High.
He said he spoke with a family looking to make arrangements for their teenage son who was killed in the shooting.
“Their eyes are blank, you know — the world is gone. You know, their kid is taken from them. And that really affects us. Because at the end of the day you know it hurts us too,” he said.
The Epsteins said even though the state of Florida is offering to pay for funeral costs, families could better use that money for counseling for the long healing process afterwards. So their services will be free.