Chances are you know Lisa Devereaux. It could be because she is a third generation Island resident. Maybe it’s because her interest in politics has been ignited, and she ran for Washington State Senator in 2016. Or maybe you’ve met her in her capacity as the Funeral Director of Vashon Funeral Home where her compassion and care create connections that bring an extra measure of peace.
She was lead into the funeral industry from her home on Cemetery Road. No, she’s not kidding. In Junior High she took an aptitude test and, appalled at the conclusion, hid the results which revealed she was meant to be a funeral director.
During high school she volunteered with the Vashon Fire Department which lead her to meet the owner of Vashon’s funeral home. She worked for him throughout the 70’s and 80’s while she was in high school and college.
After college, Lisa became a psychiatric nurse at the King County jail. But the aptitude test was right. Lisa got her funeral directors license in 2008, and has worked at the Vashon Funeral home ever since. She goes on every call of this 24/7 job. Accidents are the worst, of course. But Lisa Devereaux knows her community and she says, that helps her serve her families.
Yet there’s still something you might not know about Lisa Devereaux. She’s kicked her service to families up a notch—all the way to Washington D.C., to advocate for equitable death benefits for American veterans. Here’s how it happened.
In 2008 Lisa became the president of the King/Pierce district of the Washington Funeral Directors Association. She discovered liked it. Plus she was good at it. So good, the executive director encouraged her to run for the State board. She did. She won and she liked that, too. Lisa has served on that board for eight years, two as its president. And that’s the process that lead her twice to the National Funeral Directors advocacy summit in Washington D.C. on behalf of the Brave Act.
Currently, when a veteran dies in a VA hospital, the death benefit is $796. If they die at home or in another hospital it’s $300. The Brave Act will mandate that death benefits be equitable regardless of where a veteran dies, (this doesn’t include active duty.) This year, the April summit has been canceled. Which means the Brave Act, which Lisa Deveraux has worked for passionately and tirelessly, won’t get the office visits, or attention necessary to approve it.
The Act did have a sponsor, but he recently resigned his office. So the hunt is on for a new sponsor in the House and enough phone calls from across the country to Congressional offices, (the legislative director is the key) to get the Brave Act enacted. And while Lisa has lost an opportunity, it seems the community she cares for has gained one—that being time to make phone calls to the offices of your Congressperson and insist that the Brave Act be enacted.