Homeland resident Gloria Mineur blazes her own path

Gloria Mineur

Resident Gloria Mineur enjoying her corner suite and life at Homeland.

Gloria Mineur points to a slant-top desk in her room which her father built the year she was born.

“I’m 96, so that desk is 96 years old,” she says.

Gloria enjoys life from her Homeland personal care suite, in a bright corner room where windows overlook trees. She has lived an eventful life — even quietly rebellious.

After volunteering at Homeland for 17 years, Gloria arrived here to live in 2018. She loves her private corner and the chance to engage with staff, mingle with residents, and read to her heart’s content.

“I have a nice room,” she says. “I have my own furniture. I have my computer. I have my printer. The staff is very nice. They’re relaxed. They like the residents.”

Gloria was born in Long Island, New York. Her father served as a New York City firefighter, joining the department in the days of horse-drawn pumpers. In one burning home, he fell from the second floor into the basement.

“If I didn’t see my father for a couple of days, I figured he was in the hospital because he was injured so much,” she says now.

Gloria’s spirited mother immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland at age 15. On the journey, she decided that she didn’t like her birth name, Hannah, so she named herself Teddy, after President Teddy Roosevelt. When someone said Teddy was short for Theodora, she said, “It is? Okay, it’s Theodora.”

During the Great Depression, many Long Island residents placed their children in Catholic orphanages after losing their jobs as domestic help for Gold Coast millionaires. Theodora talked to her husband, and over the next few years, they took in 32 children. Three at a time, they joined Gloria and her two brothers.

“It was exciting to get somebody new, but it was sad to see the others leave,” she says. Gloria helped care for the ever-changing family, learning to cook at age 12. “With Mother, I was always in the kitchen standing beside her.”

In high school, despite earning honors in English, Gloria was put on a commercial track, with sewing and typing classes. She felt she was in school “under false pretenses.”

“I already knew how to type,” she says. “I made my own clothes. I was bored, so I started playing hooky.”

She would take the “L train” to Prospect Park or Forest Hills, finding spots where she could educate herself and read all day — works of Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Dickens that she bought for 34 cents.

Gloria’s mother, finally learning the truth from a truant officer, didn’t get mad. The family doctor provided a medical exception, and Gloria never returned to school.

Around the time her parents moved to Lancaster, 17-year-old Gloria met a dashing older man who had a Ford convertible and had flown airplanes. They married and had three children, but the marriage fell apart.

Living in Lancaster, Gloria was knocking on a door in response to a help-wanted ad while a special delivery man was knocking at the house next door. The two started chatting. He offered to let her know if he heard of any job openings.

His name was Albert. He was African American, and Gloria was white. This was the 1950s. They married, had two sons, and bought land in the Philadelphia area in a black neighborhood, they appropriately named Rebel Hill.

In time, Gloria came to live in Harrisburg, where she worked as a substance abuse counselor. By then, she was married to a newsman working as a state Capitol correspondent and started volunteering at Homeland.

Making herself comfortable in her chair, Gloria says she loves “just about everything” at Homeland and has plenty to keep her busy.

She remains an avid reader, with a chairside stack of books ranging from a Rita Mae Brown mystery to James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” She fills her days with bingo, movie matinees, book club, the “Singing Historian” Roy Justice, and the fresh fruit cart get-together.

“As a matter of fact, I have a whole bowl of fresh fruit here right now,” she says. All those activities come back to one thing: “I like to mingle with people. I enjoy people.”

Jonathan Bogush connects all the dots as Director of Emergency Preparedness at Homeland

Jonathan Bogush

New Purchasing and Emergency Preparedness Director, Jon Bogush

Before joining Homeland Center, Jonathan Bogush performed emergency-preparedness consultations with government agencies. But he rarely got to see the result of his work.

He found the closure he craved as Homeland’s new Director of Purchasing and Emergency Preparedness. At his interview for the job, Jonathan talked with President and CEO Barry Ramper II about Homeland’s culture, location and some longer-term strategic vision ideas.

“That’s really what sold me,” he says.

Meticulous planning and strict safety procedures have long been essential at Homeland, but today’s environment demands multifaceted, sophisticated scrutiny of risk prevention and management, says Ramper.

“Resident safety has never wavered as our number-one priority,” he says. “Security today requires a hyperawareness never known by previous generations. Jonathan offers a keen eye for detail and a strong background in preparedness – traits that assure the protection of residents, staff, and visitors.”

Jonathan joined Homeland in March 2019. At his previous post with a Mechanicsburg-based consultant, he concentrated on emergency management in collaboration with state and local governments and such federal agencies as the FBI, CDC, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition, he worked weekends as an emergency department technician. From his high school years until 2018, he also volunteered as an EMT with local companies, starting in his hometown of Duncannon.

Jonathan used his time as an EMT, including his college years at Slippery Rock University, to test whether he wanted to attend medical school. Eventually, he realized that he “could do more good” in public health, the field in which he earned his graduate degree from the University of New England’s Biddeford campus.

“You can change behaviors but changing the culture at a higher level is what I fell in love with,” he says.

As an EMT in rural areas, Jonathan appreciated the ambulance time he got to spend with elderly patients, hearing their stories.

“If you encounter an individual who’s 80, 90, or 100 years old, they have a lot of life experience,” he says. That made Homeland a natural fit, where “you never know what comes up” in conversations with residents.

He calls himself a lifelong learner and the opportunity to tackle a role with three components intrigued him. He is now responsible for emergency preparedness but also for purchasing and workers’ compensation. The issues intersect at the points of ensuring consistent procedures across departments and protecting the safety of staff as they provide care and train for emergencies.

For emergency preparedness, Jonathan works with department leaders on an Incident Management Team. He proposes scenarios, and the team “plays the what-if game,” making sure Homeland would be adequately staffed and supplied, has communications procedures in place, and can recover as quickly as possible.

Jonathan is leveraging Homeland’s strong relationships with Harrisburg police and emergency responders to plan trainings and drills in a way that won’t disrupt residents’ lives.

He also is reevaluating access to Homeland, reviewing entryways and surveillance schemes to assure that residents, staff, family, and visitors can come and go – without compromising security.

“This is the residents’ home,” he says. “We can’t go to the extreme, but we can look at multiple levels of security and surveillance. Our goal is to maintain regulatory compliance, but at the same time maintain that safe environment for all our residents.”

Outside of work, Jonathan works non-stop on many interests – fly fishing and making his own ties, hunting, butchering meat and tanning the hides, renovating his parents’ home or helping his girlfriend build hers. He and his family farm a quarter acre in Perry County and are buying a meat market.

Jonathan learned his work ethic from summers at his grandparents’ farms.

“We were at market three days a week, and we would get up at 3 a.m. to load the truck,” he recalls. “The other days, we got to sleep in and were in the fields by 6:30 or 7 o’clock. That was a lot of my childhood. I certainly do not shy away from work and long hours.”

At Homeland, Jonathan appreciates strong leadership support, backed by staff ready to streamline procedures for the sake of the residents.

“We have a great team here,” he says. “When you get folks up to speed on what’s expected of them and what’s expected of their teammates, there is no ambiguity. In my experience, people do best when they know what to expect. That’s where training comes into play. It really, truly is to maintain resident safety.”