Homeland Center thanks employees for their dedication and care


2017 employee appreciation pic

Honesty is “the fundamental basis of any relationship,” and all Homeland employees deliver that essential quality to residents and clients, Homeland Center President and CEO Barry S. Ramper II said at the annual Employee Appreciation Day.

“They’re looking at our eyes,” said Ramper. “They’re looking at our mannerism. They’re looking at our presentation, and they need to trust us. You are doing a phenomenal job of that, each and every one of you individually in all that you do.”

Homeland’s Employee Appreciation Day recognizes the hard work and dedication of the staff, who recently had a chance to dress down, eat a lunch of ribs and chicken served by the Board of Managers. During the annual lunch held earlier this year, employees received awards for length of service and won door prizes ranging from luggage to toaster ovens.

Before a crowd filling the main dining room, Ramper said that Homeland’s celebration of its 150th year in 2017 is “a sign of consistency, but most importantly, change.” The home founded to serve Civil War orphans and widows has, in recent years, created departments offering end-of-life care, and personal care and physician-directed health care in homes.

“We serve the generation today that lived the lifetime of greatest change, and Homeland adapted, which is why Homeland Center, Homeland Hospice, Homeland HomeHealth, and Homeland HomeCare are equal in responsibility and importance of what we do as an organization,” he said. “All of you deserve more than what you’re receiving today. All of you deserve to have what’s most important acknowledged, and that is that you have a heart. You care.”

2017 employee appreciation pic

Staffers returned the favor by taking the microphone to express their gratitude. Homeland Hospice Bereavement Counselor Brian Medkeff-Rose said the event makes him “feel like a little kid. To see all the people that for years have given themselves to caring for others is really cool. It’s a privilege. It’s an honor.”

Assistant Director of Nutritional Services Carmella Williams, a 24-year Homeland veteran, alternated between working and popping out of the kitchen to enjoy the festivities. She works another job part-time, she said, and co-workers there wish they got the same kind of recognition. Homeland residents, she added, “say that we deserve it.”

Residents Gretchen Yingst and Marie Smith enjoyed watching the event, which was filled with laughter and a few sentimental tears. Staffers are “all so nice,” said Smith. “It’s nice that they get approval. I think they appreciate it.”

Yingst added, “They’re always kind and go out of their way to help with anything.” The appreciation event “boosts their morale.”

LPN Latoni Crowder, collecting her five-year service award, gave a shout-out to her first-floor skilled-care colleagues. The people of Homeland, she said afterwards, are a “close-knit family.” On the day her son died four years before, Homeland management reached out to her and, to this day, continues providing support.

“I feel like God placed me here to be with them,” she said.

Quality Assurance Nurse Amanda Schrader said that, in a year and two weeks of working at Homeland, she had already been given increased responsibilities and the support to grow with the job. At other facilities where she has worked, administration “is not invested in staff.”

“What makes Homeland stellar is their investment in the well-being of staff, psychologically and physically,” Schrader said. “The fact that they have confidence and faith in me is huge. It’s my privilege to be here.”

Employees recognized for achieving milestones in their years of service were:

5 years

Ashley Bryan

Amber Butler

Nicol Corbin

Latoni Crowder

Jennifer Tate-DeFreitas

Joann Gartner

Antonia Gomez

Karen Jackson

Alice Kirchner

Lori McMichael

Symira McNeely

Steven Ramper

Felicia Wallace

Lisa Wills

Patricia Winters

10 years

Pamela Brown

Amy Kidd

Cecelia Lilley

Joey McCowin, Jr.

Samira Pizarro

Jermaine Simmons

Doretha Smith

Deborah Thompson

Tera Twyman

15 years

Jennifer Parsons

20 years

Antonia Matthews

Cynthia Zelko

25 years

Patricia Wilbern