Free…are you kidding me, nothing is free…

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Usually when we see “free” we wonder what’s the catch?  For a mouse, what seems like free cheese turns out to be a free trip to mouse heaven.  So, is there such a thing as free, and if so, why would any company just give their stuff away?  Speaking only for Calumet Park Cemetery, we do have free stuff:  for veterans, a free grave whether at-need or preneed, free installation of their government marker (which is not really free since a civilian dedicated a part of their life to all of our freedoms when they put on the uniform of the United States Armed Forces) and on a preneed basis for anyone that does not own cemetery property, a free grave (one to a family) or a credit of $950 toward a grave space of greater value.

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So, what is the catch in Calumet Park giving away graves?  Advertising is expensive and with so many types of media hitting all of us every day, advertising is not always effective.  So, instead of spending thousands of dollars on ads that nobody answers, we decided to take the money that would have been spent on newspaper ads or billboards and give the money to families, one family at a time.  Consider this:  if you had a grave space in Calumet Park Cemetery, you would at least consider using us when the need arises.  This usually means that your family will follow suite when they have a need for cemetery property or funeral services.  Yes, we own a funeral home…the old Stalinovich and Wiatrolik funeral home on Taft in Merrillville.

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In actuality, Calumet Park owns enough land that is dedicated to cemetery use to last approximately 600 years.  So, you might say we are land rich which means it costs us almost nothing to have a program that truly gives back to the community.  Some may wonder why we would even charge for any graves if we have so much space available and the answer is quite simple.   It takes money to run a cemetery, to handle all the legalities of getting a person to their final resting place.  It takes money to maintain 5 miles of paved road, from keeping the surface in good shape to removing snow from that same surface to allow families to find their way through the cemetery in winter.  It takes money to cut 160 acres of grass, to trim the almost mile of hedges around the cemetery, to constantly clean up after heavy winds cause trees to lose branches or even topple trees.  It costs money to prepare a grave, to dig and refill, to set up and remove tents and to have qualified people to do all of these things.  It takes money to keep an office staffed to help families during their time of need and to handle all the paperwork involved to satisfy the laws of the state and federal regulations.  And never forget, Uncle Sam always gets his piece, as do the state coffers take their cut on any non-service transaction.

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I could go on and on, but let’s just say that it costs a lot to run a cemetery, and a little more to run one as expertly as Calumet Park has done for 85 years and counting.  So, there are charges to families.  In fact, the average price for a traditional funeral in 2012 was $12,000 to $15,000 for a complete funeral service including casket, vault, and grave.  So, we felt it would be a help to give away $950 (price of our least expensive grave) to at least get a family started on a path of planning for the future.  We can help prearrange all of one’s needs or build a package that starts with the grave and a chance to add a little at a time until, by making payments on a monthly basis with no interest and no credit checks or credit turn-downs, a person can have everything pre-planned and paid for before their time of need.

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So, yes, there is such a thing as free but even getting a free grave does mean you must make the effort to come to the cemetery to pick out the grave and, if inclined, to get information that will certainly benefit you as you learn all that is involved in making cemetery and funeral arrangements.  So, your cost is a little time and an inquiring mind.  If you feel you would like to have more information, call 219-769-8803 or go to calumetparkcemetery.com and learn about Calumet Park Cemetery and Funeral Chapel.  Also, take the time to scroll through the over 160 articles in this blog that may offer you insight to this difficult subject.

So, we do have something free for you so don’t get trapped by false promises.  You do not have to buy anything to get your free grave!   By the way, Calumet Park’s complete veterans program is worth a look-see as it can save as much as $5000 on complete arrangements for veterans.  This program is not subsidized in any way from any outside entity nor have prices been raised on non-vets to make it possible to give vets discounts.

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Calumet Park truly does wish to celebrate our 85 years of being privately owned and our promise for personal, caring service by giving back to the community that has honored us with a chance to help.  And to all men and women currently in uniform, thank you for your courage and sacrifice.

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