Daniel Blevins knew from a young age what he wanted to be when he grew up. Like many of his peers, he was influenced by his family, albeit in a career path that some might find unconventional.
“From a very young age, my father and grandfather, who were both in the clergy, would take me with them on hospital visits and often when they would officiate at funerals,” says Blevins. “By the time I was in seventh grade, I knew I wanted to be a funeral director.”
Blevins says he originally planned to attend an out-of-state mortuary school, but then his grandfather read a newspaper article about Ivy Tech Community College launching a mortuary program at the East Chicago campus. He encouraged Daniel to check it out.
“After meeting with the program chair, I was confident that Ivy Tech was the right place to obtain my degree,” says Blevins.
The flexibility of Ivy Tech’s mortuary science program allowed Blevins to work full time while in school. He served his practicum at Cutler Funeral Home in LaPorte, where he was already employed, and he says that experience helped him hit the ground running after graduation.
“I completed my course work in December 2005, a semester ahead of graduation,” says Blevins. “The timing was perfect because I was able to fill an open internship at Mishler-Eastlund Funeral Home in Syracuse.”
From there, Blevins’ career blossomed. Following the internship, he began working as the director of Yeager Funeral Home in Ligonier in 2008. Three years later, he also became an owner at Cutler Funeral Home. Today, he splits his schedule between both locations. He says he and other young men and women in the industry have tremendous potential for growth, given that the national average age of a funeral director is well over 50.
“You can enter this field and consider it a business, a profession, or a ministry,” says Blevins. “In fact, it’s all three. If you sincerely approach it as a ministry to grieving people and serve families with true compassion and kindness, your business will prosper, and professional regard will come.”
That philosophy has held true for Blevins. In 2011, he partnered with the owner of Yeager Funeral Home to acquire Ligonier Monument Company. He then founded Legacy Cremation & Remembrance Center, which is the first and only of its kind in Indiana. To date, it has served more than 500 families, as well as serving other funeral homes that do not offer cremation services.
More recently, Blevins was the recipient of the Ivy Tech 2014 Statewide Distinguished Alumni Professional Achievement Award. The award recognizes outstanding alumni who have exhibited professional achievements and contributed to their community since graduating from Ivy Tech.
It’s an award that Blevins says represents the investment others have made in his career.
“When you graduate from Ivy Tech, you will be handed a license to live your dream, otherwise known as a college diploma,” says Blevins. ”Once you’ve made it that far, don’t let anybody convince you that your dream can’t be a reality.”