Valdosta Daily Times

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August 26, 2013

Business allows man to leave his mark

VALDOSTA — When thinking of a grave digger, thoughts of the Hollywood versions of creepy old men wandering around with shovels and lanterns may initially enter the mind. However, Anthony Robinson, a devoted family man and ordained deacon at Christian Love Bible Church, shatters all of the stereotypes.

From an early age, Robinson knew he wanted to start his own business as an adult. Little did he know it would be in the unusual form of a vault and monument company.

Robinson began his work in funeral services under the late Ralph King Harrington in 1989, during which time he performed such duties as cleaning the funeral home and answering phones. He then obtained a degree in business management from Arlington Community College, Seattle, Wash., and in 2001, his dreams became reality with the opening of his own business, Robinson Vault and Monument.

The inspiration for his business came after he realized a need in the community.

“I noticed a lot of graves without headstones,” says Robinson. “I wanted to be helpful to the community.”

These days, the burial process involves heavy machinery and meticulous planning. Robinson and his five employees take care of every aspect, from the grave preparation, to the lowering of the casket into the vault, then the filling of the grave. They offer additional services such as disinterments, cleaning up older graves, and helping families locate graves.

Going above and beyond the typical call of duty for this profession, he offers free consultations to help people better understand what is involved with the burial process and how much money the family will likely spend. He feels it is likely most people don’t realize how much it can all cost, so he aspires to help every family get a headstone and appropriate burial for their loved ones.

Burying roughly 540 people a year, Robinson works full-time to make sure every funeral is handled in the most professional way possible.

“It can get emotional, but we take every funeral seriously,” says Robinson.

He also deals closely with the families and will speak with them in their homes to make the client more comfortable during such a challenging time.

As for his family members’ feelings towards this career path, they don’t find it odd at all. His wife, Michelle, works in the office. His three children, Alexus, Anthony Jr., and Austin, pitch in and help out with the business.

“I’ve always wanted my kids to travel the world and further their education,” says Robinson. “Then they can come back to the business if they want to carry it on.”

On top of having his family as a support system, he says he has been blessed to receive help from such community members as Byron Wright, Tony Harrington, Sherri Roberts, and Pastor Bernard Braswell. His hopes for the future is that other children will aspire to their dreams as well.

“Just because you come up in a single-parent home doesn’t mean you can’t do what you’ve always wanted to do,” says Robinson, who has never let any challenges in his life stop him from his goals.

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