Sandra Daily is a busy woman.
She’s a grandmother involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution and a supporter of anti-bullying campaigns. So, the first time Homeland asked her to serve on its Board of Managers, she declined.
But when the opportunity next arose, Sandy decided it was time. She knew the quality care Homeland Center provides from her frequent visits with her mother and brother, Peggy and Rusty Keiser.
“I figured I have two people here and that I should give back,” she said. “Everybody’s been so nice and kind to them. I felt it was my turn to step up to the plate.”
The Board of Managers is a tradition unique to Homeland Center. In 1867, 18 women from nine Harrisburg churches gathered to advocate creating a home for Harrisburg’s widows and orphans of the Civil War.
While a Board of Trustees oversees financial and policy issues, the Board of Managers hearkens to those 18 women determined to avoid giving their initiative an institutional feel. The Board of Managers, still an all-female group, is responsible for sustaining Homeland’s home-like environment and quality of life.
Sandy Daily joined the Board of Managers in September 2021. She helps decorate for the holidays and arrange flowers for Homeland’s dining room tables, making sure every table has a vase fresh with blossoms each week.
She welcomes the opportunity to be a friend to the residents – especially those whose families aren’t close enough to visit.
“They’re all so happy to see somebody,’’ said Sandy, who also serves on the board’s House and Grounds Committee. “I chat with the residents and ask about how they’re doing. People need that.”
She worked with fellow board members to help the Homeland Activities Department host a fun day with the first Fall Fest in October 2021. The COVID-weary residents and staff enjoyed a day of outdoor activities, with a wacky photo booth and the chance to “bob” for apples using long-handled grabbers.
Sandy’s membership in the Harrisburg Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution came after researching her mother’s family tree by her mother’s maiden name, Hummel. As her maiden name suggests, Peggy is descended from the founder of the Hershey-area town of Hummelstown, and a Hummel connection was a Revolutionary War patriot.
After joining the DAR, Sandy spearheaded the creation of an essay contest and scholarship awards for high school seniors. Today, she serves on the chapter’s Historical Committee, helping preserve the National Register-listed Dr. William Henderson House in Hummelstown, considered an excellently preserved example of a Federal-style townhouse.
Sandy is a retired elementary school teacher who combined her knowledge of knitting and teaching into support for the national Hat Not Hate anti-bullying campaign.
Participants knit blue hats that are donated to schools and distributed to students as symbols of anti-bullying initiatives. Sandy was pleasantly shocked the day that campaign founder Shira Blumenthal went live on Facebook to open a box of knitted hats from “Sandy D,” of New Cumberland, PA.
Blumenthal read the letter from Sandy that talked of bullying, which she witnessed first-hand as a teacher, and its negative impact on young lives.
“Your Hat Not Hate program is so important in today’s world,” Sandy wrote. “I wish this program had been around when I was teaching.”
Like her mother, who knits sweater vests for children in need, Sandy loves knitting for a cause.
“If you can make someone’s life a little better because you show you care, that’s a help,” Sandy said. “Shira Blumenthal always said to consider it a hug. I told my neighbor kids, ‘You’re getting a hug.’”