2023 OGR Professional Service Awards

The International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) is proud to announce the winners of the 2023 Professional Service Awards. The awards were presented on May 3, 2023, at the Golden Circle Celebration Awards Dinner held at the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis. These awards honor individuals and funeral homes that have displayed exceptional dedication, innovation, and commitment to excellence in the profession.

The OGR Professional Service Awards are among the most prestigious accolades in the field, recognizing outstanding contributions and achievements in various categories. A distinguished panel of industry experts carefully reviewed nominations and selected the winners based on their demonstrated expertise, exceptional client service, and significant impact on their respective fields. The winners of the 2023 OGR Professional Service Awards are:

In 2002, OGR instituted its most prestigious award, the Golden Light Award, to salute professional excellence exemplified by individual members who have inspired others by their commitment to service. OGR members nominate a fellow member who has distinguished him or herself in the funeral profession through OGR involvement, community service, or volunteer activities that demonstrate "service measured not by gold, but by the Golden Rule."

2023 Golden Light Recipient:

Rafael (Raffy) Jose, Arlington Memorial Chapels, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines

Raffy, a visionary and innovative funeral director, has made significant contributions to OGR over the years. He served on the OGR Board of Directors for a four-year term, bringing a fresh perspective on global issues, emerging trends, DEI, and creative solutions.

Presently, Raffy holds the position of Chair in the OGR Professional Development Committee, where he actively contributes to shaping the content for webinars and the Annual Conference. Additionally, he co-leads the OGR International Study Group, providing valuable insights and feedback to fellow professionals to facilitate the growth of their businesses.


Raffy places great emphasis on active community involvement for his funeral home and staff. In 2023, the Arlington team organized the Yuletide Remembrance Tree celebration at Hospicio de San Jose, a foster care institution catering to orphans, the abandoned, and the elderly. Through this initiative, Arlington donated Php270,000 to support the institution's ongoing endeavors.

Furthermore, during the Department of Education's week-long event called Brigada Eskwela, aimed at improving public school infrastructure, members of the Arlington team dedicated their time to volunteer, assisting with renovations and cleaning the school campus. In June 2020, the Arlington family launched a commemorative book on grief titled "Turning the Page." This heartfelt compilation comprises letters, stories, prayers, and poems focusing on love and loss. The proceeds from this fundraising project were directed towards providing protective gear for frontline workers in public hospitals.

"Raffy's forward-thinking approach as a funeral director has been invaluable to both OGR and the profession as a whole,” said OGR President Christopher Miller. “His significant contributions over the years have made a tremendous impact and elevated our profession."

The Golden Rule Community Service Award singles out a member firm for outstanding service as demonstrated by activities benefiting local organizations and/or the community they serve.

2023 Community Service Recipient:

Oliverie Funeral Home, Geraldine Oliverie, Manchester Township, NJ

Supporting their local community is essential to the Oliverie Funeral Home. Throughout the year, they support local organizations through special events at their funeral home.
For instance, the Oliverie Funeral Home team worked with other organizations within the community to help share the benefits of joining the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. They feel strongly about supporting women in the community, helping them obtain leadership positions and learning that there are no boundaries to what they can accomplish. During the 2022 Labor Day weekend they provided hotdogs with all the fixings, snacks, drinks and 150 donated boxes of Girls Scout Cookies to anyone in the Ocean County area. They wanted to feed police officers, EMTs, firefighters and medical personnel in Ocean County working that weekend and those that were either retired or off duty.

The Exemplary Service Awards recognize Golden Rule firms that have displayed outstanding professionalism and exemplary service. The Exemplary Service Award is given to the top three nominees every year chosen by OGR members and is based on feedback OGR receives through the Family Contact Program. The Family Contact Program is an exclusive OGR member benefit that gathers feedback from the families served by OGR member firms.

2023 Exemplary Service Recipients:

Chiles-Laman Funeral & Cremation Services, H. Robert Laman, Lima, OH

"Bob was excellent throughout our entire experience. He treated us with compassion, patience, and sincerity. Bob was very thorough and patient with us as he presented service and merchandise options. Our family’s expectations were exceeded by the Chiles-Laman team. They provided us with picture boards, ordered our food and allowed us as much time as we needed to tell our loved one goodbye."

Janowiak Funeral Home, Christopher Janowiak, Ypsilanti, MI

"Chris all went above & beyond with everything! My brother was the 9th funeral in the last 2 years. My 91-year-old mother was so impressed she moved her arrangements from another facility in town to Janowiak. The funeral director was patient and he listened to details about my brother’s life to put together a video, which was very well done. We wouldn’t change a thing; they exceeded all expectations. We are recommending them to anyone who will listen. They are now our family’s funeral home – I’m sorry we didn’t find them sooner!"

Singleton Funeral & Cremation Services, Pamela Hovatter, Glen Burnie, MD

"We had a very positive experience from the moment we made the first phone call (which was on Christmas Day). The receptionist was very nice and understanding. Pamela was very pleasant to talk with and made the experience smooth. She was professional and made me feel comfortable. She drafted our Mom’s Obituary, which helped a lot since the passing of our mom was overwhelming. My whole family was happy with Pamela. We loved how we received pictures of the flowers and cards – this helped with our Thank You Cards. Everything was set up nicely. I especially liked the slide show playing during the ceremony. Getting a copy of it was lovely!"

"We are thrilled to honor these exceptional individuals and organizations who have raised the bar in the professional service industry," said Wendy King, Executive Director/CEO of the International Order of the Golden Rule. "Their dedication, innovation, and commitment to excellence have made a significant impact on their respective fields and have set a standard of excellence for others to follow."

A complete list of award winners and nominees can be found on the official International Order of the Golden Rule website at www.OGR.org/Awards.

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