JERSEY SHORE, Pa. -- In recent years, more people have begun to choose cremation over burial.
A family-owned funeral home in central Pennsylvania has now opened its first crematory.
"I think we want it to feel warm and a little bit different than your traditional funeral home so they can celebrate their loved one's life that they lived," said Brian Leffler.
Leffler is talking about Tributes of Life Crematory. The facility opened a week ago and sits behind one of the nine funeral homes his family owns.
Rearick Carpenter Funeral Home is in Jersey Shore.
"This past year, in 2018 for the first year in United States history, the cremation rate is actually over 50 percent, so it's now becoming a majority of our clients are selecting cremation," Leffler said.
With more people opting for cremation, Leffler's family decided to build their own crematory. With a newly designed chapel and crematory, the staff can support families through the entire cremation service.
Family members are welcome to be as involved in the process as they want. A door leads to the crematory and opens so family members can witness the process.
"If they want to come in and press the button, if they want to be more involved, if they want to help with that, or if they want to sit here the whole time they are being cremated, they absolutely can and that's why we built the facility," said funeral director Sierra Pryor.
Leffler believes many people chose cremation because of the cost. He says cremation can cost thousands of dollars less than purchasing a burial plot and is a greener option.
While many choose to bury their loved one's remains, Leffler says there are other options.
"You can be turned into a tree, a glass sculpture. There are companies that will pack the cremated remains into fireworks. They'll come to your area and do a fireworks display. There are companies that will put the cremated remains into bullets."
People who would like to learn more about cremation are welcome to reach out to Tributes of Life Crematory in Jersey Shore at 570-398-1730.