This year Cindy Zelko celebrates her 25th anniversary as an accountant in the Homeland finance office, but her ties to Homeland go far deeper.
Cindy first worked for Homeland as a secretary during a gap year between high school and college. Recently, her father was a resident who made excellent progress following a stroke under the care of Homeland’s physical therapy services.
“Everybody here is so friendly and personable,” Cindy says. “The care is really good.”
Cindy grew up in the Harrisburg area while her father worked for American Airlines and its predecessors, USAir and Allegheny Airlines. With free flights as a benefit of her father’s work, travel was a constant for the family. The travel itinerary might be to such destinations as Florida, Boston, Arizona, or Hawaii.
“We always got taken out of school during the school year because he had to work during the summer,” Cindy says. “We went to Los Angeles, which was fun because we got to see Hollywood. We went to ‘The Tonight Show,’ and we saw Jay Leno’s first show after Johnny Carson retired.”
Of course, Cindy and her two brothers recognized that their family vacations were different.
“All of our friends went to the beach, and sometimes we wanted to go too,” she says. “But looking back when we were older, we certainly appreciated being taken to these different places.”
Cindy’s decision to work at Homeland for a year after high school was influenced by her mother’s best friend, who was Homeland’s director of nursing at the time. After a year of working as a secretary, Cindy attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a degree in accounting.
She worked in public accounting for about two years, followed by another couple of years with a Harrisburg-area nursing home. When Homeland reached out to her again, the accounting position with its payroll and financial reporting duties was the right fit.
Cindy’s husband also is an accountant. They grew up in the same neighborhood and she has known her husband since she was 15.
Cindy and her husband have two daughters, who are grown now. The whole family has always been “big Disney people,” Cindy says. They visit Disney resorts several times a year, enjoying the food, rides, pools, and customer service.
After her father’s stroke, he had hospital and rehab stays, but the experiences couldn’t match the quality of care at Homeland Center, a Five-Star Medicare facility. The family got him into Homeland’s skilled care as soon as possible, and the difference was palpable.
“The therapy department has been great,” she says. “He’s come such a long way. He’s walking way better than when he came here. They have definitely improved his quality of life.”
Cindy takes pride in her work, especially in the meticulous preparation of financial statements and accounts so that everything runs smoothly when auditors arrive. In 25 years, the workload has increased as Homeland expanded its in-home services – Homeland at Home — but she and her colleagues in the finance office continue to uphold the strictest standards.
“We don’t miss deadlines,” Cindy says. “We’re always on time for everything. I love my job here. I like to make sure that everything’s in order for our auditors and our residents.”