‘They just love people’: Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice volunteers honored


When Ronald Brinkley visits Homeland Hospice patients, he believes he gets more out of the encounters than they do.

Maryann Smith and Tessy. who enthusiastically greets visitors to Homeland Center’s gift shop.

“It’s been a blessing and truly a privilege,” said Brinkley. “You get to know them well. Most of them are very gracious and thankful that somebody came to see them.”

Brinkley was among the volunteers honored at the Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet in April 2016. Dozens of volunteers filled the Homeland Center main dining room, decorated with pansy centerpieces and tiny stars sprinkled on the tablecloths.

Homeland Hospice Coordinator of Volunteers Leanne Porterfield thanked the volunteers by reciting the lyrics to “Seasons of Love,” from the Broadway musical, Rent which emphasizes the theme of all the friendship and love that can be measured in a year.

“I can’t think of a better thing to share with all of you, for all that you do for the seasons of life that our patients at Homeland Hospice and our residents are Homeland Center are going through,” Porterfield said.

Homeland Center Director of Skilled & Personal Care Activities, Ashley Bryan, revealed that Homeland Center CEO Barry Ramper challenged her to increase volunteerism by 10 percent, and it rose by 15 percent.

“That’s all thanks to you, and it’s a benefit to our residents,” she said.

All volunteers received gifts reflecting their time in service, while individuals honored were Jeanne Shellman, most gift shop hours at Homeland Center; Kelly Lick, most hours by Board member; Tierra Meade, most companion hours at Homeland Center; Ronald Brinkley, most patient hours at Homeland Hospice; and Sherry Lank, most administrative hours at Homeland Hospice.

“Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice volunteers are part of the foundation which enables our organization to provide consistent high quality outcomes to our patients and residents,” said Ramper. “Our volunteers are the best. We very much appreciate their heartfelt commitment.”

Meade was recognized for cheerfully helping Homeland Center residents one-on-one and wherever needed. “The residents put a smile on my face,” she said, “they keep me laughing.”

One Homeland Center volunteer who didn’t get a gift but received plenty of attention was gift shop greeter Tessy, a 9-year-old teacup Yorkshire terrier wearing a sparkly green dress. She came to the dinner with her owner,  Maryann Smith.

“If someone is distraught, she listens to their problems and gives them a kiss,” Smith said. “If they’re in a wheelchair, I put her in their lap. They pet her and talk to her. She’s very patient with them all.”

Homeland Hospice volunteer Brinkley enjoys conversing and getting to know the needs of patients. His wife, Brenda Brinkley, also is a Homeland Hospice volunteer and was a longtime member of Homeland Center’s Board of Managers. They both had relatives who lived in Homeland Center, including Brenda’s mother, who celebrated her 100th birthday in the Homeland Center diner.

“They do a good job of taking care of the people,” Brenda said.

Homeland Hospice staff is “the most special group, the most caring,” Ronald added. “They just love people, and I just love being around them.”