Original Ford Mustang designer being honored at October 10 event benefiting Homeland Hospice

Gale Halderman

Gale Halderman, designer of the original 1965 Ford Mustang.

The designer of the original 1965 Ford Mustang will receive the AACA Museum, Inc. Automotive Heritage Award during the Museum’s annual gala fundraiser on October 10 benefiting Homeland Hospice and the AACA Museum, Inc.

Award recipient Gale Halderman began as a designer with Lincoln-Mercury in 1954 and four years later became head of Ford’s Advanced Studio. In addition to leading the team that created the first Mustang, during his eight years as studio chief, Halderman oversaw the development of the Lincoln Mark VII and VIII.

  • The AACA Museum, Inc.’s Night at the Museum Gala will be held from 5-10 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10 and includes a cocktail reception and full dinner. This year UPMC Pinnacle is the Premier Sponsor. PNC is this year’s presenting sponsor.
  • Tickets are $150 and proceeds will help support benevolent care provided by Homeland Hospice as well as the AACA Museum’s continuing preservation work.
  • Guests can meet in a special VIP setting for a $50 upgrade featuring a private exclusive reception with Gale Halderman. VIP Guests will also receive an autographed Mustang poster courtesy of Ford Motor Company.
  • To order tickets please visit the museum’s website www.AACAMuseum.org or call 717-566-7100.
  • Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are still available at a variety of levels for organizations or individuals.
  • For more information, please contact Jake Dunnigan at 717-566-7100 ext. 116 or JDunnigan@AACAMuseum.org

The AACA Museum, Inc. will hold a live auction with auctioneer Josh Katz of the Katz Family Foundation during the Gala, which also marks the 15th anniversary of the Museum. Many interesting auction items including artwork and special experiences – ones you cannot buy – will be up for bid.

During the event, visitors will have the opportunity to tour the museum’s featured exhibits including “Mustangs: Six Generations of America’s Favorite Pony Car,’’ with more than two dozen Mustangs. A trio of Thunderbirds courtesy of the International Thunderbird Club and the 1985 Modena Spyder aka the “Ferrari” from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

About Homeland Hospice

Homeland Hospice serves 14 counties in Central Pennsylvania and is a community outreach of Homeland Center, a five-star skilled nursing, and personal care facility. Homeland Hospice is one of three Homeland at Home programs offering a complete continuum of care for any changing circumstances. To learn more, please visit www.HomelandatHome.org.

New RN Toni Crowder spreads love and cheer to residents

Toni Crowder

Toni Crowder, RN and happy to be at Homeland.

Now that her time is her own again, Toni Crowder promises to resume bringing liver and onions to Homeland. She used to bring it for lunch once a month, a dish her kids hate but some colleagues love.

“I’ve kind of been slacking, because of school,” she says with a laugh.

For more than two years, Toni has pursued her registered nursing associate degree. She once thought it was beyond her reach, but through persistence and family tragedy, she persevered.

Toni’s studies, supported by Homeland’s tuition reimbursement program, have sharpened her nursing skills. The things she learned in school influence the daily care she provides.

Nursing has been Toni’s dream since age 7. She lived in Harrisburg with her parents and three siblings. Her mom ran a corner store; her father, retired from the Army, worked at New Cumberland Army Depot. She remembers seeing a neighbor she knew as Miss Portia get off the bus in her nurse’s uniform and knew she wanted to help others in the same way.

She joined Homeland as an LPN in 2011. When asked in her job interview why Homeland should hire her, she didn’t give the standard description of her skills and experience. She simply asked that they give her a chance. She was unemployed at the time, the mom of four kids, and she knew she could prove herself.

“My mom said, ‘If you want to be a nurse, you have to treat people like you want to be treated,’” Toni says. Toni brings that lesson to the residents of Homeland Center’s first-floor skilled nursing unit every day.

Toni Crowder with resident

Toni Crowder and a resident sharing some lighthearted moments.

“I give all the residents the same love, care, hugs, kisses,” she says. “Putting a smile on their faces – to me, that’s nursing.”

When Toni walked the stage to accept her diploma and receive her RN pin from Harrisburg Area Community College, her Homeland colleagues were there.

“I have a great set of co-workers,” she says. “I’m so thankful for them. We work together as a unit. They’re more than just my friends and co-workers. They’re my family.”

Her co-workers also were a source of strength when the unthinkable happened.

Toni’s son, Rahsan Crowder, a student at Lackawanna College in Scranton, was shot and killed in 2013 by a young man he barely knew. The support from Homeland, only two years into her time here, “was amazing.”

“They sent their condolences,” she says. “They called me on the phone. They texted me. They made sure I was okay. When I truly needed someone, they were there for me.” She feels so “truly blessed” to work at Homeland that she tells her supervisors, “I’m never quitting. You’re going to have to fire me. That’s the only way I’m leaving.”

In a way, her son’s death spurred her decision to return to school. She had thought school was behind her, but she realized she had to seize the opportunity.

“I dedicated these two-and-a-half years to him,” she says. “I want to keep his dream going.” He was an aspiring football coach, and a foundation she is starting in his memory will help other families, perhaps paying midget football registration fees, or providing holiday meals.

“He always wanted to give back to the community,” she says.

Outside of work, Toni loves spending time with her three adult daughters, plus nephews, nieces, and cousins. She cooks for family gatherings. She travels. She vacations in Myrtle Beach, where her mother came from – all with family.

She has worked at larger retirement communities, but she likes the personalization of Homeland.

“I still enjoy coming to the job seven years from the day I first came,” she says. “That’s how I know this was meant for me. God placed me here, and this was where I was supposed to be at this point in my life. I’m thankful for being able to work with a great group of people.”

Fun in the sun with Homeland 2018 Summertime Fair

Face-painting at the fair

Face painting drew long lines of excited fair attendees.

The Homeland Summertime Fair is a blend of old traditions and new ventures, but all Maliah Sumpter wanted to do was send Homeland Center Director of Admissions and Social Services Ashley Bryan into the dunk tank.

“Because the water is cold,” she said. Maliah was among the dozens of children getting silly at the fair, Homeland’s annual thanks to the community for providing the support that makes Homeland an integral part of Harrisburg life and history.

The 2018 fair featured all the old favorites — dunk tank, bounce house, rummage sale, snow cones, French fries. Preliminary figures showed the fair raised more than $8,000 for the Homeland activities fund, which helps residents experience outings and entertainment.

Homeland’s fair also spotlighted a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Dauphin County Library System. Additionally, the library is expanding services to residents, taking books and activities into Homeland and bringing residents to the local library for programs.

DCLS brought MARCO, its mobile exploration station, to the fair. MARCO blew bubbles that floated across the parking lot transformed into fairgrounds, while kids used their imaginations to build fun structures with Straws and Connectors kits.

More residents attended the fair this year than ever before thanks to planning by Homeland’s activity staff that matched an employee with every resident who didn’t have an outside family member or friend to accompany them.

Resident Betty Dumas took a try at dunking Harrisburg Police Chief Thomas Carter into the dunk tank. Her daughter, Donna Longnaker, said she loved the entire day.

“It’s nice to see all these kids having fun,” she said. “The staff put on a nice show for the residents, and it’s wonderful.”

Chief Carter, a longtime friend of Homeland, sat in the dunk tank to honor a pledge made when employees raised $5,000 for the activities fund. His appearance drew delighted staff and children. He also told two local television reporters about Homeland’s commitment to the community and the employment opportunities it offers neighbors.

Chief Carter in the dunk tank

Harrisburg Chief of Police Carter getting dunked in support of Homeland Center.

Homeland has been “vested here,” he said. “They have been here since the Civil War days, and they plan on staying here. It’s a great working opportunity for local residents, so they are giving back.”

One little girl lining up at the dunk tank was too small to throw the ball, but Carter urged her to walk right up to the target. With a push, he plunged into the tank

“You guys want to join me?” he asked the crowd as he emerged from the water.

Nearby McLamb Memorial Church Day Care Center, which often brings children to Homeland for reading sessions and interactions with residents, brought 50 children, ages 5 to 13. Head teacher Chinia Plant said kids and staff have been “looking forward to this.”

“We get a chance to hang out with the residents,” she said. “The kids like face painting. We just like coming here for the fun.” Her student An-Nisa Ray-English, 5 years old, loved the heart she got painted on her face.

“I chose the heart, and the artist said, ‘This is a nice heart for you,’” she exulted.

Jermane Buckner appreciated Homeland’s thanks to the community. The seventh-grader from Harrisburg said his aunt lives in the neighborhood, and “all the family came out because we wanted to get out of the house together. Everything is fun.”

At the sun protection station, Homeland Hospice staffers Bethany Traxler and Eva Nicotera were distributing sunglasses and sunscreen.

“People can come out and see what Homeland does, not only for the residents but for the community,” Traxler said.

At the rummage sale, run by the Homeland Board of Managers, shoppers perused housewares, collectibles, and $1 jewelry. Staffing the tables, Joyce Thomas said she followed in her mother-in-law’s footsteps onto the Board of Managers.

“Everybody has a home here,” she said. “It’s a very relaxed atmosphere.”

Residents enjoying the fair included Elaine Golembiewski.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she said. “Everything’s good. We’re outside. What more could you want?”

Her son, Steve Golembiewski, appreciated the care his mother receives.

“Homeland is really top-notch,” he said. “Everyone seems immersed in their jobs, and they care about the residents.”

Homeland resident Carl Barna makes his garden grow

Carl Barna

Homeland resident Carl Barna enjoying the tomato-plant garden.

Carl Barna is giving a tour of the impromptu tomato garden sprouting on the veranda overlooking Homeland Center’s verdant Catherine Elizabeth Meikle Courtyard.

“There’s Bush Goliath,” he says, rattling off the varieties growing in pots. “Then there’s Celebrity. There’s a Roma. There’s one called a Patio tomato.”

Where Carl Barna goes, there’s a project going on. He has spent a lifetime building decks and porches, fixing up homes, cooking, sewing and upholstering, and growing vegetable gardens, especially those featuring his favorite – spicy-hot jalapeno peppers. At Homeland, he pitches in wherever there’s a need and, with his outgoing nature, strikes up conversations with everyone.

Homeland’s little vegetable garden started late this summer, when Carl acquired the tomato plants, plus jalapeno and red bell peppers now growing in a stone planter, from obliging home store managers, happy to see their end-of-season plants going to Homeland Center.

He has thoughts about expanding the garden in future seasons. He could build raised planters for vegetables, and maybe grow fresh herbs for the Homeland kitchens.

Carl is a Harrisburg native, growing up a middle son in a family of four girls and five boys. He played baseball and football. He camped and roamed the woods above his home. By age 13 or so, he was working, carting concrete around building sites for the father of television producer and Harrisburg native Carmen Finestra.

He always knew he didn’t want to work in an office. He graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School in 1972, just as Tropical Storm Agnes was devastating Harrisburg, so he found work clearing mud and debris from flooded stores. Then, Carl found work as a Penn Central Railroad brakeman. It was hazardous work, jumping on cars being separated and classified for the next leg of their journeys. If they were boxcars, he would climb to the roof. At the Enola railyard, his job was to tie the handbrakes to stop each car before they ran out of track. Once a group was secured, another batch of cars might come over the hump, to be stopped by the cars already tied down.

After four years with the railroad, a car crash left Carl with limited use of his legs, but he stayed busy. He worked in real estate, fixing up houses and even erecting a modular home for his mother. Today, he maintains his powerful build by attending Homeland’s exercise classes. Every morning, he does 150 sit-ups and 1,500 reps of a twist with a cane threaded behind his shoulders.

All his life, Carl has learned by doing and by picking the brains of others. He learned to cook from the TV chefs he would watch with his mother. There were the little tricks that made cooking easier, such as using a mustard bottle to squeeze out precise drops of olive oil. He came to appreciate the results of cooking with cast-iron pans, producing broiled pork chops that came out as well as grilled.

Carl brings a cheery attitude to every activity and meal at Homeland, perhaps coaxing a laugh and a little chair dance from someone in an exercise class, or helping a skilled-care resident fill out a bingo card. When he goes to bingo, everyone leaves with a prize. It’s all part of his philosophy to make someone’s day, every day.

“I have fun with everybody,” he says.