Local funeral director Aaron “Ronny” Rivera was elected to the executive board of directors of the Texas Funeral Directors Association on Thursday.
Rivera is director-in-charge and owner of Rivera Funeral Homes and vice-president and general manager of Hillcrest Memorial Park and Cemetery in Edinburg, a release from the TFDA says.
The TFDA represents more than 4,000 funeral directors and five mortuary schools across the state, serving as the largest professional association for funeral directors in Texas.
Rivera is a graduate of Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in Houston and has been licensed to serve since 1983, the release says. He resides in Edinburg with wife Edith Lopez and their five children.
“Serving on the TFDA board gives me an opportunity for more education and information about our profession,” Rivera wrote in the release. “Things are changing rapidly and we, as board members, can help each other by sharing our experiences and solutions and this makes it possible for me to bring this knowledge back to South Texas directors, offering me the opportunity to give back to my profession.”
Rivera described the changes and challenges in his industry created by the COVID-19 pandemic in the release, writing that embracing technology and diversifying traditions has helped families cope with pandemic restrictions when a family member dies.
“We were one of the first to allow visitations for COVID-19 cases, and the first to expand our refrigerated facilities,” he explained. “This made it possible for families to see their loved ones because of COVID-19 restrictions. Some hadn’t seen their lost family member for several months.”
Rivera expects to continue working toward solutions on the TFDA board.
“I believe funeral directors have responded well with comforting changes as they have shepherded families through the painful time after a death has occurred,” he wrote. “As a director, it is my hope that the pandemic will end soon. However, in the meantime, I will look forward to working with other directors to find new ways to make the journey after death easier for the families we serve.”