Securing legacies: Presenter shares planning guide with Homeland residents and families


What frustrates executors of estates the most? That they can’t find the documents and information essential to wrapping up the affairs of someone who has passed away, financial planning executive Karen Drancik told Homeland residents and family members recently.

Karen Drancik offers a dynamic presentation alerting Homeland residents and their families of the need for documenting all the information necessary in case of a loved one’s death or incapacitation.

“We love our family, and we don’t want our passing or incapacity to become any more traumatic to our family members by leaving a mess behind,” said Drancik during a recent presentation entitled “Family Love Letter: A Gift of Time, Love and Clarity.

Drancik, vice president and senior consultant of Neuberger Berman Advisor Institute, walked attendees through a detailed planning guide called “Family Love Letter.”

Everyone starts generating documents from the day we’re born, Drancik said. Families must share that information before death or incapacitation to help survivors “navigate the paper trail.”

“We love our family, and we don’t want our passing or incapacity to become any more traumatic to our family members by leaving a mess behind,” she said.

As she reviewed the 38-page workbook’s five sections, Drancik shared tips – many drawn from her own professional and family experience – on estate planning:

  • At a “bare minimum,” have a will. Without one, the state of Pennsylvania decides where property will go, “and you might not like how they divvy it up,” said Drancik.
  • Update life insurance beneficiaries as circumstances change.
  • To thwart identify theft, hospitals might require identifying documents such as a birth certificate before providing a copy of the death certificate.
  • Be specific about distributing personal property and sentimental items, such as jewelry, artwork, and antiques. “You might think your children are perfect angels, but when you’re gone, the gloves are coming off,” Drancik said. Sometimes, the simple act of explaining why a particular family member gets a treasured heirloom can smooth ruffled feathers.
  • Write down all usernames and passwords for accounts, computers, phones, and other electronic devices. Keep the list in a locked, secure place.
  • Take time for the “ethical will” – a description of the times in which you lived and the values you lived by, “to pass on to future generations.”

Kathy Hill, of Hershey, attended the presentation with her mom, Homeland resident Flora Jespersen. Her parents moved to Homeland from their home about a year ago, and the presentation helped her quest to “learn everything about what I can do to help my parents because we’re going places we haven’t gone before.”

“There’s no primer on this,” Hill said. “Every little bit helps.”

Resident Isabel Smith, the former Homeland Administrator who helped pull Homeland out financial straits in the 1970s, appreciated the information. “We should have had this all our lives,” she told Drancik.

All attendees received a free copy of the “Family Love Letter” workbook. Drancik’s appearance was sponsored by Joy Dougherty, CFRE, and Neuberger Berman. Attorney Vicky Ann Trimmer, of Daley Zucker Meilton & Miner, LLC, helped answer Pennsylvania-specific legal questions.

Jan Gray Beers attended with her parents, new Homeland residents Bob and Marion Gray. The passing of a loved one “i

Homeland achieves perfect rating in U.S News’ Best Nursing Homes 2016 report


HARRISBURG, PA (November 16, 2016) – Homeland Center received a perfect 5.0 score in U.S News and World Report’s Best Nursing Homes 2016-17 released today and available at

According to U.S. News, only 13 percent of the more than 15,000 nursing homes evaluated nationwide achieved “Best” status by earning a rating of at least 4.5.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from U.S. News & World Report, which is a testament to our dedicated and caring staff,’’ said Barry S. Ramper II, Homeland’s president and CEO. “Next year Homeland will celebrate its 150th anniversary, and this recognition underscores the commitment we have to provide the highest quality care to our community.’’

Homeland is one of the few skilled nursing care facilities in the Central Pennsylvania region to earn Medicare’s top Five-Star rating repeatedly. In judging facilities, U.S. News said it looks at Medicare’s data as part of its overall assessment. More information about U.S. News’ process is available here:

In keeping with its goal to meet the community’s needs, Homeland this year unveiled two new services to help seniors remain in their home while receiving the quality care they need. Homeland HomeCare will assist seniors with daily tasks such as meal preparation and transportation, while Homeland HomeHealth will provide doctor-ordered medical assistance, ranging from providing intravenous therapy and other medications to physical therapy.

Homeland Hospice, which serves 13 counties, last year became the only service in central Pennsylvania to offer a dedicated pediatric hospice program.

Earlier this year, a poll of Harrisburg Magazine’s more than 50,000 readers resulted in Homeland Center receiving the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Long-Term Care Facility for the fifth straight year.

“We will never waver in our full service commitment to those who have entrusted their lives to us,” Ramper said. “Our mission has changed since we were founded to care for those left widowed and orphaned following the Civil War, but our commitment to providing quality care has never wavered.’’

Resident Spotlight: Friendliness and hard work help Mary Yanich reach her 100th birthday


Friendliness and hard work help Mary Yanich reach her 100th birthday!

As she nears her 100th birthday, Mary Yanich credits hard work for her longevity. She has owned a grocery store, sold shoes, been active in her church, and even helped her family’s bootlegging business as a girl during prohibition.

What’s the secret to living 100 years? Homeland Center resident Mary Yanich credits her devotion to hard work – even when that meant tending her father’s moonshine still during Prohibition.

“I loved to work,” says Mary. “I asked my mother once why she always asked me to do things when there were other brothers and sisters around, and she said, ‘I know, but when I call for Mary, Mary jumps.’”

Yanich’s birthday on Oct. 27, 2016, represents 100 full years — upholding the traditions of her parents’ native Serbia, raising a family, supporting her church, and working inside and outside the home.

Mary, who had six siblings, was born in Farrell, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Midland, Ohio. Her father owned a gas station and a farm, where apples, pears, and grapes grew in the orchards.

“I have a picture of me up in a tree eating an apple,” she says. “It was a beautiful, beautiful farm.”

Mary doesn’t hide her family’s bootlegging past and the whiskey produced to bring in income. At 8 years old, according to her son, Ted Yanich, she worked nighttime, two-hour shifts tending the fire under the still. She also rode with the milk man on his morning rounds, carrying whiskey hidden in hot-water bottles that she distributed to customers along the route.

“What revenuer would stop an 8-year-old?” says Ted Yanich.

Mary Yanich’s life was full of music. She could play piano by ear. Her mother and uncle sang traditional Serbian songs in the home. She met her husband, Ben, when his church choir came from his hometown of Steelton to sing at her church.

Mary and Ben married in 1943. He shipped off to the South Pacific, where he was wounded while serving as a tank commander. After recovering in Hawaii, he came home to Steelton, where Mary was living with his parents.

With Mary’s industrious, friendly nature, she dove into the life of the tight-knit mill town and St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, next door to their home. The avid sports fan attended every Steelton-Highspire High School football game for 53 years, bundling up for even the coldest games. She cooked for church events and was recently honored as a founder of its Mothers Club, established in 1956. She still attends services.

“Members of the church still say she was one of their favorite people there,” says Ted.

In 1954, Mary convinced her husband to buy a grocery store. They worked different shifts, even as he kept working at the steel mill. The money earned helped put their two sons, Ted and Donilo, through college.

Even after they sold the store in 1964, Mary kept working. At Pomeroy’s Department Store, she sold shoes, just as she’d done at another department store in Pittsburgh years before.

“The people I worked with were nice,” she recalls. “They were nice company, and we had fun together.”

Ted Yanich says his mother taught him and his brother compassion, especially for those weaker than others. She also urged them to uphold Serbian traditions of building bonds among families.

At Homeland, Mary enjoys music programs. Ted, who has seen many retirement communities in the course of his work, ranks Homeland as one the best because “everybody in this building is a caregiver,” whether they’re certified nurse assistants or maintenance workers. Mary agrees.

“The people are so friendly,” she says. “That’s so important. It’s not hard to be nice.”

Stanley Fabiano among Homeland residents honored for their service


Whether he was hosting Bob Hope or hitting home runs against professional Japanese ballplayers, Stanley Fabiano always performed his duties in the U.S. Air Force with an eye on making sure that his fellow service members had all the high-quality supports and entertainment they deserved.

Stanley Fabiano likes Homeland, with its good food and “very, very nice people.” The former baseball player enjoys watching sports and movies on TCM.

Fabiano was among Homeland Center residents honored for their military service at Homeland’s 2016 Veterans Day ceremony.

The San Jose, California, native served first, in Korea in 1955 and then went to Japan for two and a half years, starting in 1956. He was an Air Force second lieutenant, having served in ROTC while studying at San Francisco State University. He had also played baseball in college and on a farm team of the San Francisco Seals, the famous Pacific Coast League team that produced Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio.

In the Air Force, Fabiano served in personnel services, overseeing all sports activities and escorting USO troupes. In Japan, he guided Bob Hope, Hope’s wife Dolores, and his cast members on their tour. Hope “was very friendly, very nice.”

“He makes you very comfortable when you talk to him,” Fabiano says. “And he had a very nice wife.”

On that tour, his primary job was assuring that cast members had a good time. Like what? “I don’t want to tell,” he says, but immediately admits he was joking. Mostly, they went to Tokyo nightclubs to watch elaborate floor shows.

His varied assignments included burning worn-out military currency, and carrying satchels holding about $60,000 worth of payroll funds on train rides to outlying sites.

At Johnson Air Base, north of Tokyo, Fabiano continued playing baseball on the base team. The outfielder and pitcher once hit three home runs in a game against a Japanese professional team. As he rounded the bases each time, he’d hear the Japanese players express their appreciation of a good hit. “Nice battah,” they’d say.

In 1959, Fabiano returned to the states. At a North Carolina base, he oversaw such activities as the base movie theater and library. He also visited the families of service members killed on duty to explain the benefits owed them. That, he admits, was a difficult job that he didn’t like.

The base didn’t have a baseball team, but he managed its fast-pitch softball team. Much of his life, he has taught young ballplayers, including coaching his son’s Little League team. He tried to teach confidence. If he saw kids who didn’t get support from home, he’d give them the discipline and structure they needed. One rambunctious boy, unwanted by other teams, helped his team win their championship, and the boy called it the best day of his life.

After retiring from the Air Force as a captain, Fabiano worked a career in sales, and also spent a short time in the 1970s as assistant to the president of Little League Baseball. Today, he enjoys Homeland, where the food is good and the people are “very, very friendly.” His wife, Terry, lives in their Camp Hill home, and his two adult children live in Georgia.

He is proud of his time serving in the U.S. Air Force.

“I can honestly say I had the best military experience you could have, considering that you were going into the service,” he says. “I’m proud of the fact that I was able to have an effect on people’s lives.”

Employee Spotlight: Assistant Director of Development Ed Savage pursues a passion for caring


Assistant Director of Development Ed Savage pursues a passion for caring!

Ed Savage reviews the images selected for printing in a “lottery calendar,” to be sold as a Homeland fundraiser. Buyers of lottery calendars qualify for daily cash drawings throughout the year.

Savage is a history buff, particularly enamored of the Civil War, and he marvels at Homeland Center’s endurance dating from its founding in 1867 as a home for Civil War widows and orphans. That makes the 2017 gala celebrating Homeland’s 150th anniversary especially important.

“How many organizations get to this phase?” he says. “You only have one chance at this. You want to make sure it’s done right.”

Development offices stay fresh by always dreaming up new ideas, Savage believes. Homeland is in the midst of its “$20 million by 2020” initiative – meant to raise funds to assure Homeland’s renowned benevolent care will be available to future residents. Savage is part of “a truly committed’’ team tasked with reaching the goal – a team that includes that includes members of the volunteer Board of Trustees and Board of Managers.

“We’ve been encouraged to think creatively,” he notes. “It’s nice to work for folks who have a real feel for the organization.”

Growing up in Brooklyn, Savage learned to appreciate diverse cultures and people. His parents were both educators who taught him to value learning, and his father is a longtime sports referee. His all-male Catholic High School instilled in him a spiritual foundation and a sense of social justice.

His wife, Kathy, a psychometrician, is passionate about empowering women through martial arts and teaches and practices in four disciplines, holding a second-degree black belt in Jung Sim Do.  He bonds with his three sons, ages 21, 18 and 13, over their athletic pursuits, and he and his youngest son enjoy excursions to the region’s charming towns, sometimes letting the car guide the way.

Development, Savage says, “is about storytelling,’’ and Homeland “has a great story to tell.” Though Homeland is steeped in history, it stays relevant by keeping pace with changing needs, such as the recent creation of Homeland Hospice, Homeland HomeCare, and Homeland HomeHealth.

Sometimes, the development office will get a note from someone thanking them for the excellent, compassionate care that Homeland has provided a loved one. “It makes you stop for a second and say this is why we do what we do,” Savage says. And then he repeats, “This is why we do what we do.”