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Funeral home ad receives heat from veterans

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An advertisement for Springfield-based Greenlawn Funeral Homes has drawn the ire of the Missouri Veterans Commission, which issued a Nov. 10 statement saying it referred the “misleading” ad to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office for review.

The ad listed “free cemetery space, outer burial container, grave marker, and opening and closing of the grave” as part of Greenlawn’s $4,540 Veteran’s Burial Plan.

However, according to the MVC, a veteran’s burial service already is covered by the federal government and should not be considered a discount from Greenlawn’s burial cost.

“All veterans who are buried in a state or national veterans’ cemetery are provided these services at no cost as part of the benefits they have earned for their service to our country,” MVC’s statement said.

Greenlawn ads identifying the burial services as discounted for veterans were published for six consecutive weeks, most recently in the Nov. 3 edition of Springfield Weekly AdNews.

Publisher Greg Walton said the funeral home has since pulled all of its ads with the mailer.

Omar Davis, general counsel for the MVC, said he had not heard from the attorney general’s office regarding any action it might take. A call to Koster’s communications office to inquire about possible action on the matter was not returned by press time.

Davis said he was pleased to know that the advertisement was no longer in print, but that didn’t change his discontent with the ad.

“Our concern is that the funeral home felt comfortable to run the ad to begin with,” Davis said. “While the ad wasn’t misstating anything outright … it made it seem like veterans were getting a deal that they were not going to get anywhere else.”

Greenlawn President Jason J. Diemer returned a call to Springfield Business Journal regarding the ad, but he declined to comment on the record.

Walton said he didn’t realize anything was wrong with the funeral home’s advertisement.

“I look at all the ads and ask questions if I think there is something wrong, but I didn’t know (veterans) get all that for free,” Walton said.

Davis said the attorney general’s office is not under any specific timetable to take action on its referral.[[In-content Ad]]

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