Homeland volunteer shares chats and cookies with residents


Henry Weaver Don Englander for websiteFor three years, Henry Weaver’s mother-in-law lived at Homeland Center, and she always had visitors.

Weaver’s wife, Peggy, visited Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Henry Weaver came on Sundays, joining her for lunch in the dining room.

“She was well-loved by people here,” Henry Weaver says. Though her husband had never called her anything but Elizabeth, “when she came here, she was affectionately known as Lizzie.”

During that time, Weaver noticed that some residents rarely had company. After Elizabeth Stewart died in November 2014, he returned to Homeland, volunteering for regular visits. Whether he’s visiting three men in their rooms or stopping to chat with women in the hallways, the financial advisor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran always comes prepared.

“I carry my iPad in my Marine Corps bag, and I have cookies,” he says. “For people who have diabetes, I have cheese crackers.”

On a recent weekday, Weaver visited with resident Don Englander, going over recent football scores on his iPad.

Weaver also uses his iPad to play a resident’s favorite music, such as the French tunes called up for a resident who came from a family of French glassblowers. Another resident loves to talk about the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the iPad helped him and Weaver recall the 1954 roster.

“I just find something in common with the resident, and we talk,” says Weaver.

Weaver has a busy schedule, working as President Emeritus of Weaver Financial Services, Inc. He and his wife, Peggy, are involved in the lives of five active grandsons, all in high school and college. Weaver makes time for Homeland because he remembers how much his mother-in-law’s visitors meant to her.

One resident, a retired mail carrier, swaps memories of old Harrisburg with Weaver, who grew up in the city. Many residents “have terrific knowledge of things from 50 or 60 years ago.”

“I just think people like to see a different face now and then,” he says. “I look forward to it.”

Weaver has served on the steering committee for Homeland’s drive to increase its endowment by $20 million by 2020, to sustain Homeland’s tradition of never asking a resident to leave for financial reasons. Weaver and his wife Peggy are charter members of The 1867 Society, which recognizes significant contributors to the effort. Their names are on The 1867 Society Wall of Honor, a digital lobby display honoring charter members.

The endowment campaign accepts gifts of trusts, charitable annuities, life insurance, bequests, and real estate. With his expertise in financial planning and insurance, Weaver provided guidance to the steering committee for those who have charitable annuities to invest or others who want to contribute in some way.

Weaver says he’s amazed that Homeland has perpetuated itself and its excellent care since 1867 and “is at the zenith of its game right now.” Today, it is “the first choice in retirement living for many people.”

“This is just a good place with conscientious people and fine leadership,” he says. “Everything is so personalized here. My mother-in-law was always treated with love and respect.”