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Written by Zach Irby, Bristol Herald Courier


Temperatures will dip back down into the single digits over the next two days and the high isn’t expected to rise about 20 degrees, but the arctic blast isn’t postponing funeral services in the Bristol area.


David Akard, third-generation owner of Akard Funeral Home in Bristol, doesn’t recall canceling services because of the cold and admits his staff will do whatever it takes when the thermometer drops below freezing in the Mountain Empire.


“Sunday was a good example,” Akard said. “We had a graveside at the Jewish cemetery on Bradley Street. It was cold — but we put walls around the tent and even had a heater inside.”


Akard and his employees wear layered clothing, including long underwear, and keep plenty of hand warmers in stock during the cold months.


“It affects the families we serve more than it does us,” Akard said. “We’re used to doing what they want and being outside in the elements — it’s just making sure you’re prepared for it too.”


Brent Buchanan, manager of Oakley-Cook Funeral Home in Bristol, Tennessee, added that funeral services in this region are rarely postponed because of cold weather and ground that is frozen.


“Our services don’t stop because it’s hot or cold,” Buchanan said. “There are people who are constantly losing loved ones, and we have to keep in mind graveside services and burials.”


Oakley-Cook works with families to provide items like blankets and hot beverages during graveside services on frigid days, according to Buchanan.


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