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ASD Helps Family to Reunite After 50 Years

Nov 21, 2012

Sometimes, a simple message has the power to transform the course of your life. That was the case for John Alban, Funeral Director of E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes & Crematory located in Colonial Heights, VA. When ASD Call Specialist Annette answered his funeral home’s phone line during the early morning hours last Monday morning, she didn’t know that the message she was about to take could have such a profound impact on the funeral director.

It may have been fate that Annette was working that morning. As one of ASD’s third shift, bi-lingual Call Specialists, Annette is fluent in Spanish and also understands a great deal of Italian. So when a woman called from Italy with an urgent message for John Alban, Annette was there to answer and could easily translate the call. While the woman did not disclose the reasons for her call to Annette, the Call Specialist could sense the call was of high importance from the woman’s tone and her own instincts. She contacted John immediately after hanging up to relay the message.

Later that day, ASD found out from the funeral home that the caller was John’s biological mother who had given him up for adoption over 50 years ago. She was living in Italy but had never stopped searching for John. Now, because of this call, John and his mother will be reunited after five decades apart! She is now in the process of applying for a passport to visit John in America.

ASD is thrilled to be able to play a part in such an inspirational story. Every day, over 12,000 calls are answered by an employee of ASD. Every one has the potential to change a life. In this case, our highly-skilled Call Specialist Annette recognized the urgent need of the caller and the importance of getting in touch with the director immediately. While we employ bilingual Call Specialists on every shift, it was fortunate that Annette could understand the Italian language and recorded the caller’s information accurately.

We look forward to hearing from John about his experience meeting his mother for the first time and hope that this phone call is just the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.

UPDATE: We touched base with John Alban who let us know his mother arrived in Virginia last night. John was looking forward to introducing her to the rest of the family. They are expecting a translator to arrive this afternoon to make communication easier but in the meantime they are using a computer to speak to one another. John describes his birth mother as “a spunky lady” and said he can see a lot of himself in her. He hopes to have photos and videos for us to share soon. Congratulations again John–we’re so happy to have been able to help you make the connection.

About The Author

Jess Farren (Fowler)

Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at

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