Who We Are

The funeral industry today can be confusing for most, especially at a time of loss.  Lasting Tributes is there for your family to offer a solution to the traditional complicated buying process that most people are faced with at a time of loss.  Through the years we have taken the time to listen to what your needs and wants are, and have created a buying process that is simple, affordable and offers the finest of service available in the industry today. 

Our Valued Staff

  • Ryan Helfenbein

    Ryan Helfenbein Owner/Certified Pre-Planning Counselor

    Ryan has been working in his family business since 1997 and became a partner in 2006. Prior to that he had thought he’d become a Marine Biologist. While that career didn’t take off, he throws himself into his fishing hobby whenever time permits. His favorite spot to travel is Atlantic Beach, NC because as a fisherman, that place has it all! Ryan’s favorite time of day is early morning when all is quiet and he has a fresh mind. He believes the best part being an “Undertaker” (as he refers to himself) is being able to help individuals plan well in advance to eliminate stress and financial burden for family in the future. He also feels good after a ceremony when family members and visitors leave his facilities with a smile on their face and a tear in their eye. This tells him that the role of creating a one of a kind final farewell was in fact achieved. Now, some of you may remember Ryan as Kaptain Blue Light at the Kent Island Kmart, but if he had the opportunity to be a real life superhero he would chose to trade lives with Captain America! Given the opportunity to be immortal, Ryan would choose to remain in his mid-30s. He described it as life before aches and pains, minimal stress, and that it was at the time when he and his wife, Sarah, were able to watch all three of their children, Luke, Chase, and Emma grow from babies into the amazing personalities they have today.

  • Emily Murphy

    Emily Murphy Managing Director

    Growing up as a kid, Emily spent a lot of time as a passenger on the toll roads of the Midwest. Working as a toll collector in an individualized booth seemed like the dream job to young Emily. As she grew up, she switched her aspirations to being a professional ice hockey player and then finally around seventh grade settled on being a funeral director. In a way, there are quite a bit of similarities between being a toll booth operator and a funeral director. Emily’s favorite part of her job is meeting so many unique and accomplished individuals. Every day is completely different because she gets to hear the stories of everyone’s past. Her favorite challenge in her role as director is connecting with family members to create and perfect the most memorable experiences when stress tends to be the highest. When asked what her favorite time of day is, she easily answered the mornings. It’s when she thinks the clearest and possesses the most patience to tackle big ideas. It should come as no surprise, with patience in mind, that her desired superpower would be to teleport. Her least favorite part of traveling, by air or land, is the time spent doing it. Of everywhere she’s traveled, safari in the Serengeti (Tanzania, Africa) was her favorite!

  • Vince Roussey

    Vince Roussey Assistant Managing Director & CANA Certified Crematory Operator

    As a child, Vince had aspirations of becoming a ninja. Though he was never able to make a lucrative career out of it, he gets to share in his dream daily with his son. Vince’s favorite time of day is 4:45 pm when he is walking through the door at his house and hears his son, Rex, shout “Daddy, play with me!” He describes himself as a homebody over a traveler because there is no where more comforting than with his wife, Jessica, son, and their pup, Maggie. He considers himself a dog person over a cat person, though the aforementioned Maggie presses her luck sometimes. Of all of the places he has visited, Alaska is by far his favorite. He has great determination to live there one day. When asked the age old question, “Is a hot dog a sandwich,” he emphatically answered: “No! That’s like saying cereal is soup!” Level-headed and laid-back are two of Vince’s strongest personality traits. He creates a relaxing environment, daily, for the guests and staff at Lasting Tributes!

  • Christina Smith

    Christina Smith Apprentice

    Christina prefers cats over dogs. Her and her husband Ryan are proud parents to their two cats, Sir Pounce and Archer. She is hopeful, though, that in due time her husband will agree to add a pup to their family! While Christina leans in to her love for cats, her love for pets doesn’t stop there. Finding much inspiration from helping others and her love for animals, Christina is extremely passionate about Pet Parents Services for families who lose their furry family member. Three words to describe Christina are curious, empathetic, and generous; all of which are valuable qualities to enhance the Lasting Tributes’ team. If Christina could learn a new skill, it would be to take up a new language. German, Spanish, and American Sign Language are all up for consideration. You may be wondering what musical artist Christina would pick to play at her funeral? That’s easy: Simple Plan or Four Year Strong!

  • Allie Sansing

    Allie Sansing Office Manager

    Allie Sansing has been the fearless office manager at Lasting Tributes since 2017. As a child, Allie had dreams of becoming a doctor and a mom. While she never became a doctor, she still focuses her energy on taking care of families at Lasting Tributes while simultaneously juggling the responsibilities of being mom to her two sons, Braeden and Sawyer. If Allie could possess one superpower, it would be to heal others of pain. She feels passionately about promoting positive mental health and wellness. If there were a magical way to fix others’ suffering, it’s where she would channel her energy. Allie describes herself as a homebody, but has dreams of a traveler. The comfort and peace she finds from being home with her family brings more joy to her heart than she’s ever found from her travels. When asked who she would like to musically perform at her Celebration of Life, she emphatically said, Ed Sheeran!

  • Ken Laing

    Ken Laing Facilities Supervisor

    Honest, friendly, and trustworthy are three redeeming qualities that Ken brings to work with him every day. His favorite part of overseeing Bestgate Memorial Park and assisting the families at Lasting Tributes are being able to find a way, even if it’s a small one, to help families at what feels like their worst moments. Ken considers himself a traveler over a homebody. There are so many awesome and fun things to do in new places, plenty of exciting opportunities and interesting people to meet! His favorite place to spend time is in West Virginia where the natural beauty of the state times in with family connections and memories shared there. If he could learn any language instantly it would be Spanish. Having that tool would allow him the ability to better serve our diverse community in Annapolis while also enjoying travels abroad!

  • Kerry Legg

    Kerry Legg Funeral Concierge

    Kerry’s favorite time of the day is late afternoon – it’s winddown time during the week and on the weekends when she gathers with her husband, Josh, and kids. She has been proudly helping the FHN communities since 2007, and learning about others while helping them through a difficult time is truly what propels her every day. While she grew up thinking she’d be a soccer player or coach, she is instead coaching others through uncharted territories after a loved one is lost or by encouraging individuals to preplan services to relieve stressors on their family members. Coaching comes naturally for Kerry, as she is also extremely involved in her daughter Hayden’s, and son, Jase’s athletic pursuits. If Kerry could have any superpower it would be flying. She loves to travel but dislikes the time spent getting to a destination. Of everywhere she has traveled, Whistler, British Columbia marks the top destination on her list. If Kerry could have any band, living or dead, play at her funeral she would choose The Beatles. Thanks to her mom, she has a strong love for the British icons!

  • Kristal Abrams

    Kristal Abrams Planning Administrator

    Kristal has been helping our communities solve the tricky items our families come across after services are over, like insurance claims and Register of Wills affairs to name a couple, since 2016. Her favorite time of day is when the funeral concierge work ends and she pulls into her driveway to see her three kids, Vada, Luke, and Sawyer waiting for her with their bright smiles! Kristal considers herself a homebody over a traveler, so it’s only fitting that her and her husband, Matt, have made their beautiful family home one she adores! Though she loves her time with family, it is helping community families that brings her the most joy in her role at FHN. She describes herself as dedicated, stubborn, and kind. All of these are valuable qualities to help organize families in getting back on their feet after a loss! When ask the hotly debated question, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” Her answer quickly was: “Not a sandwich, obviously!”

  • Leon Burton Sr.

    Leon Burton Sr. Funeral Assistant

    Leon is described by his coworkers as dedicated, dependable, and accountable. Not only does he still work fulltime for UPS, he spends his nights and weekends helping out families at Lasting Tributes. It should come as no surprise that his favorite time of day is the night, especially in the summer -- when he can drive with his windows down, listing to good old R&B music. His favorite part of working at Lasting Tributes is being able to care for others’ loved ones. To him, it is the ultimate honor to have the trust of a family caring and providing services for the person they love the most. When Leon isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Wanda, and their teenage son, Leon Jr. Leon would like to add more travel to his life, as it’s a time he can truly escape from his fast paced work life. However, if time doesn’t permit, then spending time at home with his family is equally enjoyable. If Leon could trade places with any Disney character, it’d be Mickey Mouse because he’s the main attraction and everyone loves Mickey! Leon’s coworkers believe he is the Mickey Mouse of the team! Everyone lights up when Leon walks in the room!

  • Kevin Cratty

    Kevin Cratty Funeral Assistant

    Kevin started with Lasting Tributes in 2018. After working with the funeral home for both of his parents-in-law, he decided that he too would love to provide comfort and well wishes to other families going through a difficult time. Kevin’s coworkers describe him as happy, humble, and loyal. You’ll never see Kevin without a smile and there isn’t a single topic about which he is unable to carry on a conversation. If he could possess any super power it would be to bring happiness and health to all sad and sick individuals. Kevin naturally is more of a dog person due to his allergy to cats, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love cats too. While his family dog, Daisy Mae, is nearly his best friend, he also loves his neighbor’s cat as well! If Kevin were immortal he would choose to stop aging at 38 – it was the year that he and his beautiful wife, Edie, brought their son Jack into the world and his energy levels were at its peak!

  • Danielle Callahan

    Danielle Callahan Funeral Assistant

    When asked the hotly debated question, “is a hot dog a sandwich?” Danielle replied with a resounding: “No! Do not disrespect a sandwich like that!” While Danielle had her dreams set on becoming a police officer as a child, she pursed law enforcement in a slightly different capacity. Instead of police work, she fills her days with government work for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. It is helping individuals and being a caring presence that brings her most joy while she fulfills her duties at Lasting Tributes! She considers herself to be ambitious, relentless, and influential all qualities which propels success in her professional endeavors. Her favorite time of day is at sunset, when all of the work from the day is completed and she can relax. If she could request any performer at her Celebration of Life Party, it would be ACDC!

  • Bruce Chance

    Bruce Chance Funeral Assistant

    Bruce has been helping the Annapolis community his entire life, however he has been offering his empathetic and calming words to Lasting Tributes families since 2019. In his role at the funeral home, he finds it rewarding to interact with guests and be of assistance during their most trying times. Growing up, Bruce dreamed of being a Sport Fishing Boat Captain. While he didn’t pursue that dream, he still finds peace on the water when he gets a chance. Bruce prefers traveling and exploring quiet and remote places over large cities. Of everywhere he has ventured, he ranks Alaska, Isle of Iona, and the Czech Republic at the top. If Bruce could harness any superpower it would be to fly. Having this ability would provide him with a new perspective and certainly help his travels!

  • Dr. Craig N. Coates

    Dr. Craig N. Coates Senior Pastor, Fresh Start Church

    Dr. Craig N. Coates is a native Annapolitan with over 20 years of pastoring experience. He serves as the Senior Pastor at Fresh Start Church, a non-denominational fellowship in Anne Arundel County. In addition, he serves on numerous boards to include the Anne Arundel County HIV Commission and the Healthy Anne Arundel Coalition. Bishop Coates holds a doctorate from the University of North Carolina College of Theology. In addition, he is a licensed pastoral counselor and specializes in emotional health, managing anxiety, and grief coaching. His compassion for grieving families is evident in his unique and often humorous messages regarding life, death, and eternity.

  • Greg DeHaven

    Greg DeHaven Traditional Highland Funeral Piper

    To mourn the passing of a loved one a traditional piper can play at a tribute of ones choosing as a means of respect. For centuries, it has always added a special touch to any ceremony with their unique and individual sound. Greg, who is exclusive with Lasting Tributes, brings honor and dignity to ones passing as well as support to the family, friends and acquaintances of the deceased.

  • Mary  Cahill-Kindrat

    Mary Cahill-Kindrat Hostess & Bereavement Coordinator

    Mary was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She moved to Maryland where she met and married her husband Peter in l979. They have 3 children and two beautiful grandsons - Vincent and Jackson. Mary completed her Associates Degree in General Studies with area of concentration in Psychology and Gerontology. She then continued her studies at the University of Maryland University College where she obtained her Bachelors of Sciences Degree. She continues to study in the areas of Behavioral Science, Psychology, and Mental Health. Mary has been contributing in various roles since joining Lasting Tributes.

Looking for More Information?

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.