EATON — Harris-Maggard Memorials celebrated its 35th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 27, with a ribbon cutting. The company has been a Preble County landmark since the 1920s with Harris Memorials, but has been owned and operated by the Maggard family for the past 35 years. They wanted to keep Harris — including the Harris Memorials sign in the front lawn — to honor the history.
While the company has been known by different names over the years, its dedication to the community has stayed constant throughout the changes.
In fact, recently the company showed that dedication by donating memorials to all of the Dayton and El Paso shooting victims. According to Owner/Operator Amanda Maggard-Ramsey this was a “calling God laid on our hearts.”
“Last month, when the shootings happened in Dayton and El Paso, God laid on our hearts to provide all the victims in Dayton monuments. That was about 11 a.m., at about 5 p.m., God said, ‘If you trust me, donate monuments to all the El Paso victims too,’ she said.
“I was like, hold on, that is a huge commitment. [God said,] ‘Don’t ask for any donations, don’t accept any donations, do what I’m telling you and be a woman of faith.’ We’re walking by faith, that’s all I can say. We’re donating monuments to all the Dayton and El Paso shooting victims.
“It’s been amazing the amount of people that we’ve met, the families we’ve met, that have been effected by the tragedy. The amount of closure and healing we’re able to help provide them is one of the most important pieces of our business. It is not about selling a monument, it is about making a connection with a family and making them feel special and important in a time that sucks.
“For lack of better words, it is a terrible time. To be able to help people, give them closure, and make them feel comfortable when they’re here — celebrating their loved ones’ lives. That is the real pride and passion in all of this.”
The Maggard-Ramsey family got involved in the industry 35 years ago by purchasing a monument company in Lebanon. Now, they own Maggard Memorials in Lebanon and Harris-Maggard Memorials in Eaton.
“We take a lot of pride and passion for what we do serving the community and putting up eternal monuments that celebrate people’s lives,” Maggard-Ramsey said.
She added, they wanted to celebrate their 35th anniversary with a Preble County Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting as a way to celebrate their history and network with the community.
“It’s amazing, the people we’ve met in the community, the networks we’ve binded — we’ve started give back campaigns where we work with churches,” she said. “Being able to strengthen the fibers of our community by working with businesses has been a real turning point for us, because the first 20 years we had our heads down working.
“I sold my first monument in 1996 when I was 16 years old. So, it is way different now — the technology is different. Now, we are one of the only companies in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky that own and operate our own laser etching machine. When we do your monument, we can create a footprint that will scream your name and celebrate your life. It is there for eternity.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH