Birmingham AL Oct 4 2011 Holy Smoke LLC in Alabama has serviced only two clients since launching in July, but founders Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell said they have seen an increase in interest as word spreads.
‘It’s about celebrating life,’ Holmes, a 16-year state conservation officer, said on Friday. ‘We know how strange it sounds to people who aren’t comfortable around guns, but for those who are, it’s not weird at all.’
‘People take ashes and spread them across lakes or forests or throw them in rivers, and nobody thinks twice about that. This is no different,’ said Holmes.
For a starting cost of $850 a pound of ash fills about 250 shotgun shells but rifle or pistol cartridges can also be used.
The pair have mostly received inquiries from members of law enforcement, fire departments and the military who wish to have their service honored in this unique way when they die.
But others have requested the service for their pets, particularly bird dogs, Holmes said.
Joyce Harrison of Spanish Fort, Alabama, said she understood why some people might recoil at the concept. But she wishes the option had been available seven years ago when her husband of 42 years died of cancer.
‘Toward the end he wasn’t able to spend as much time hunting as he liked, but he took off any time he felt strong enough to get through, and he always came home so relaxed and at peace with everything,’ she said. ‘This would have been perfect for him.’