ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - In Elkhart County, they make a lot of fifth wheels for recreational purposes. The Coasson isn’t one of them.
“One of the (burial) traditions in our country for a fallen politician, figure a president, is to use a caisson,” said Ron Stoll with Coasson, Inc. “Which is a horse-drawn, time-of-war wagon.”
Stoll has developed a new twist on the age-old theme. It’s called the Coasson. The Coasson is an aluminum-framed, fiberglass fifth wheel made in Elkhart County for use in the funeral industry.
“Maybe you have always enjoyed a four-wheel-drive pickup truck and that’s what you’re known for,” Stoll explained. “It can go behind the pickup truck.”
Stoll says another customer in the northeast plans to attach a Coasson behind a Tesla.
Stoll says the goal of the project was to deliver comfort and confidence to families through the personalization and customization of the Coasson.
The version Stoll demonstrated Friday in Wakarusa had a custom iPad pocket where scrolling photos could be displayed. The unit could also be decorated with a variety of military, religious and first responder emblems.
Furthermore, the version on display Friday responded to the increasing popularity of cremation.
“How do we handle the urn? Where do we put it in the car?
How do we show respect and regard?” Stoll asked.
Enter the Urn Ark, a 4-foot-tall piece of wood furniture made by Amish craftsmen in Nappanee. The Urn Ark has a place to secure a vessel and it has hand rails that put the unit in easy reach of pallbearers.
The Urn Ark also allows an urn to be flag-draped when appropriate.
“A veteran would have that kind of salute, and that's no different than if we had a casket,” Stoll said.
The unit shown Friday will travel to a tarmac in Tampa next week to receive a military officer who died in Iraq.
Back home in Elkhart County, Coasson will soon start setting up production in a plant in Wakarusa.
“The exciting thing is that this opens up a whole new market for our economy, using the resources of the community,” Stoll said.
Stoll added that the cost of the Coasson is about $32,000, which he claims is about $100,000 cheaper than a hearse.
Stoll says the Coasson has been under development for the past four years and available for use over the past six months.