Hope native and third term Hempstead County Coroner Ben Brazzel has received one of the highest honors for a funeral director in the State of Arkansas. Governor Mike Beebe recently appointed Ben to serve a term on the Arkansas State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.
According to Ben, his term began in June of this year and runs through June 2016. The position is a three year term and each member is limited to serving two terms on the board.
The Board is comprised of seven members, five professional, one consumer and one senior citizen. The Board Staff consists of a Secretary-Treasurer, Inspector, Investigator and part time Bookkeeper.
Candidates for the board positions are nominated by a third party. After they are nominated, they receive an application for the position. Once the application is returned, one of the candidates is then chosen and appointed by the Arkansas Governor.
Ben was nominated by Eddie Hawkins of Texarkana Funeral Home. He is replacing Hawkins who term limited out as a member of the board this year. Ben was chosen by Governor Beebe over two other nominees for the 4th district position on the board.
This isn’t Ben’s first experience in government. In addition to his five years as Coroner, Ben also served from 2009-2012 on the Arkansas Burial Association Board, which governs burial associations in the state.
Ben said his time on the Arkansas State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors won’t interfere with his duties as Hempstead County Coroner since the board only meets once a month and his deputies are able to carry out the duties of the Coroner when he is out of town.
According to the Arkansas government website, The Arkansas State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is charged with the licensure of Funeral Directors, Embalmers, Establishments, Transport Services and Crematories. The Board conducts testing for licensees, inspects establishments, coordinates and directs the funeral director and embalmers apprenticeship programs, investigates and hears complaints, administers and tracks the Continuing Education Program and answers public inquiries.
Ben said that the board also enforces Federal Trade Commission and OSHA regulations, as well as implementing new laws passed by the Arkansas Legislature and regulations put in place by other governing agencies. He said that the board also makes recommendations concerning the industry to the Legislature.
The board regularly meets once a month at the capitol in Little Rock. According to Ben, the board’s first meeting of his term was today, July 8, and covered the rules and regulations for the industry. The board meets again Tuesday, July 9 for their regular scheduled meeting.
Ben is one of the board’s professional members. After graduating from Hope High School, he graduated from the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Sciences. He is a licensed funeral director in the State of Arkansas and has over 20 years experience in his family’s funeral homes, Brazzel-Oakcrest in Hope and Brazzel-Cornish in Prescott, with his parents Eddie and Janie Brazzel. In addition, he is an Embalming Instructor at UACCH.
Ben and his wife Karen live in Hope. Ben continues to work in the Brazzel funeral homes, as well as serving as Coroner. He is a member of First Baptist Church in Hope, the Hope Rotary Club and is on the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Board.