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Homeland Celebrates Achievements at Annual Meeting

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Homeland’s Board of Trustees in September held its annual meeting, during which the Board and Homeland staff celebrated several significant accomplishments and achievements that the organization experienced during the past 12 months.

“Overall, Homeland experienced both a very challenging and very successful year as we served in the best interest of our organization’s mission, heritage and, most importantly, our residents, patients and clients,” said Carlyn Chulick, the outgoing Chair of Homeland’s Board of Trustees.

Homeland Chaplain Rey Villareal in an opening meditation offered gratitude for “bringing together these caring, steadfast and gifted people for the purpose of serving at Homeland,” which enables the organization to carry forward its 156-year tradition of providing comfort, healing and care.

Among the achievements celebrated during Homeland’s annual meeting:

  • Skilled Nursing and Personal Care at Homeland Center, and Homeland HomeHealth and Homeland HomeCare, were all found to be “Deficiency Free” based on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s annual licensure and certification inspection. This is the first time all four service lines earned a “Deficiency Free” result in the same inspection year.
  • Homeland Hospice was named a 2023 Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Award recipient by HEALTHCAREfirst, a national provider of services for hospice and home health agencies. The Hospice CAHPS Honors Award recognizes the highest performing agencies that continuously provide a positive patient experience and high-quality of care as measured by the patient and caregiver point of view.
  • In May, Homeland graduated its inaugural Certified Nursing Assistant program The training program, which was designed using Homeland’s core principles and values while meeting Pennsylvania Department of Education accreditation guidelines, develops current talent at Homeland as well as trains new employees interested in becoming CNAs. To date, 13 students have graduated from the program.
  • Also in May, Homeland Center held a special ceremony to commemorate the installation of the first set of Tribute Medallions on the fence at the Sixth Street Kunkel Circle Entrance. The medallions serve as a tribute to loved ones who received Homeland services, as well as recognize individuals who make a difference through their volunteerism and dedication to Homeland. (Medallions are available on an ongoing basis. For more information, visit Tribute Medallions or call Myra Badorf at Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.)
  • Homeland participated for the first time in the Historic Harrisburg Association’s annual Garden Tour. Over 100 guests visited Homeland Center’s gardens, many of whom were introduced to Homeland for the first time. Building on this relationship with the Historic Harrisburg Association, Homeland is a participant in the association’s Candlelight Tour schedule for December 10, 2023. A tour area will be designated in Homeland’s Personal Care area for guests to experience first-hand the quality living experience at Homeland.
  • Homeland held its 9th Annual Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk, which attracted over 300 walkers, runners, staff and volunteers – and event record – and raised over $50,000. The Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk raises funds for benevolent services for hospice patients and their families. Homeland Hospice depends on the generosity of donors for its enhanced care for hospice patients such as massage therapy, music therapy, and extra in-home-relief hours for caregivers, as well as for residents at Homeland Center whose financial resources have been exhausted.

In addition to celebrating these accomplishments during the annual gathering, Homeland appointed H. Glenn “Bub” Manning and Christopher Baldrige to its Board of Trustees and Andrea Freeman to its Board of Managers. Congratulations and thank you, Bub and Chris!

Those in attendance also expressed appreciation to Carlyn Chulick, who retired from the Board of Trustees at the conclusion of the annual meeting after 10 years of service. Carlyn will remain engaged with the Board as Immediate Past Chair.

Dr. Charles K. Fetterhoff, Jr. was appointed chair and Michael Thomas was appointed vice chair of the Board of Trustees for 2023-24.

Board of Trustees member Ellen Brown: A shared devotion to service

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Board of Trustees member Ellen BrownBoard of Trustees member Ellen Brown sees parallels between her life and the history of Homeland.

She and Homeland are “deeply rooted in Harrisburg” and committed to serving the community.

Ellen’s mother was a Homeland Board of Managers member, and her family’s longtime church – historic Grace United Methodist Church in downtown Harrisburg – was a founding church of Homeland in 1867.

Today, as a Homeland Board of Trustees member, Ellen contributes her expertise in nonprofit development and fundraising.

“All the dots connect,” she said. “There’s no other organization like Homeland in the community. It started with women from nine churches who came together to help the disadvantaged women and children of the Civil War. That’s the foundation that Homeland was built upon. It’s part of the progression of my life. I know how important Homeland is to our community and was honored to be asked to be part of it.”

Ellen, who grew up in Paxtang, is a fundraising consultant and community volunteer whose experience stretches from the presidency of the Harrisburg Rotary Club to running Harrisburg’s legendary Cow Parade.

Her father, who had a law practice in Harrisburg, led United Way campaigns and served on the Allied Arts board. Her mother was a devoted community volunteer with the Junior League and her Homeland service.

“I was raised to believe that when you were asked to serve, the answer was yes,” Ellen said. “You figured out how you would fit it into your life. We were taught that we have to make sure that the next generation has a community that’s thriving, and you give back. We’ve been very fortunate and blessed in our lives, so we pay it forward.”

A Dickinson College graduate, her early career was in broadcast and billboard sales. One day, a cousin called to introduce a project some people thought she should lead.

“I went to lunch, and they showed me a Cow Parade presentation,” she said. For the next 18 months, she enlisted sponsors for the creation of 123 fiberglass cows decorated by artists and arrayed throughout the city.

“It was a wonderful time in the history of Harrisburg because it was something the entire community embraced,” she said. “On any given Saturday during that summer, hundreds of people were up and down Front Street. Some people literally had to have their pictures taken with every single cow. What else can you attach your name to that people in Harrisburg still talk about?”

That experience led to her working in nonprofit development before she went out on her own as a development consultant. That work continues while her commitment to the community remains steadfast. As president of the Harrisburg Rotary Club, she leads efforts to increase the organization’s visibility and attract younger members.

“We have to begin thinking about what Rotary will look like in 10 years,” she said. “It’s steeped in Harrisburg history, just like Homeland. We are the 23rd Rotary organization in the world.”

Ellen and her husband, David, own a horse farm in Grantville, where they breed show jumpers. Horses have been part of their lives since early in their marriage, when David, a native of Boulder, CO, suggested getting a couple. After he retired, he became fascinated with breeding. Together, they learned through immersion, once having eight foals in one year.

The farm is winding down its breeding operations, but Ellen calls the time she spends with horses “an unbelievable privilege.”

“It’s lovely to be able to go home and shift gears,” she said. “Here I am with this animal that trusts me completely and is reliant on me for everything. It’s almost a spiritual experience. When I’m not in a hurry and I’m leading a 1,500-pound animal that we raised out to a pasture, I appreciate the level of trust and connection that’s going on. The bond you create with a horse is quite extraordinary.”

As for her Homeland service, Ellen hopes she contributes to the stability of an organization that has lasted 156 years and will continue standing as a community mainstay.

“I hope to be able to do whatever I can using my background and my relationships in the community to help make Homeland secure and sustainable.”

 

Homeland Center (www.homelandcenter.org) offers levels of care including personal care, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Homeland also provides hospice, home care, home health and palliative care services to serve the diverse and changing needs of families throughout central Pennsylvania. For more information or to arrange a tour, please call 717-221-7900.

Board of Managers member Maggie Kirsch: Gratitude and fulfillment

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Board of Managers member Maggie KirschMaggie Kirsch can’t name a single incident that exemplifies her beautiful experiences at Homeland.

“All the little ones make up for one big one,” she said. “Everybody is so kind, considerate, and caring here that I can’t honestly say there’s one big thing. It’s the little things that make this place.”

Maggie is a longtime volunteer, serving on the Homeland Board of Managers for about eight years. The Board of Managers is Homeland’s unique, all-women board devoted to sustaining Homeland’s renowned homelike feel, managing the details that range from hanging holiday decorations to redecorating the dining room and refreshing bench cushions.

“I have never met so many kind women so eager to help and ready to do whatever needs to be done,” she said. “They don’t hesitate. Amazing, amazing women.”

Maggie was born in Brooklyn and is the daughter of Italian immigrants. Her mother learned English by reading the Sunday comics. Her father followed a tortuous path through the Alps, across the Atlantic, and down through Canada to reach a better life in the United States.

“He made something of himself on his own,” she said. “He didn’t expect anybody to give him anything. They knew what they had to do.”

Her family moved to Harrisburg from Brooklyn, NY when she was two to be closer to her mother’s family. Maggie’s grandparents ran a grocery store on Cameron Street, near the Bethlehem Steel plant in Steelton, and her father owned an ice cream truck. Later, her parents owned a Harrisburg bar called Guy’s Café.

Maggie attended Bishop McDevitt High School, where she loved singing with the choir and the a cappella group. After graduating from high school, she became a medical assistant and worked in a doctor’s office, which taught her how to do blood tests and other procedures.

In 1966, Maggie married Tom McAuliffe, a Bethlehem Steel electrical engineer. For 22 years, they stayed busy raising their four children. Then one day, while at a seminar in Bethlehem, he died suddenly while out for his daily run.

“I can only say I put one thought in front of the other, handled one situation in front of the other,” she said of those challenging days. “Thank God my kids are good. I was fortunate to have good friends and good family to help.”

Maggie also worked for 16 years as an office administrator for AAA Travel, and after her husband died, she worked as a temp for Kelly.

The agency allowed her to be home every day when her youngest child came home from school.

While serving as a temp with Amp, the former electrical component manufacturer, she attended a holiday party where she met an Amp engineer named Paul Kirsch. Soon, they were dating, and they married before he took a business trip to Paris.

The couple’s travels have taken them to Alaska, Hawaii, and Europe. On one memorable trip, Maggie and four of her siblings – the Bianchi family — ventured with their spouses to their parent’s Italian hometown. There, where a cousin was mayor, they walked the cobblestone streets, ate gelato made by another cousin, and saw their grandmother’s silkworm farm and fig-tree groves.

“It was the best trip we ever took,” Maggie said. “All the things my parents talked about now came to life. If you can return to wherever your parents were from, go!”

Maggie and her husband live in Lower Paxton Township. The grandmother of 14 loves to golf, is an avid gardener, serves as a docent for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence, and sings soprano, just like she did in high school, but now with the Hummelstown Community Singers.

Since joining the Board of Managers, Maggie has “enjoyed every minute of it.”

“I feel so satisfied just to see how happy the people are,” she said. “I feel so gratified by the things I can do to help make the residents’ lives better. The employees are so nice. I have never met a rude person here. Everybody is very considerate of each other’s position and how they can help each other.”

Board of Managers member Babs Phillips: A hands-on volunteer

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Homeland Chef Manager George Shum

Babs Phillips is a longtime Board of Managers member who has seen Homeland grow to meet the community’s needs while maintaining its status as a premier care facility.

“It’s the employees,” she said. “They maintain a caring attitude. It starts at the top and extends throughout the organization.’’

Babs has served on the Board of Managers for 22 years. This unique, all-women group is devoted to maintaining Homeland’s homelike atmosphere and an array of lively seasonal events that brighten the lives of residents.

“I enjoy all the boards I have worked with,” she said. “Everybody is so willing to work, and everything goes well.”

Babs grew up in the East End of Pittsburgh until her senior year in high school, when the family relocated to Indiana, PA, to be near relatives. There, a teacher recommended that Babs and three other students get summer jobs with the state in Harrisburg. Her mother, a free spirit, wholeheartedly approved.

That was her introduction to central Pennsylvania. After graduation, she attended Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and returned to the Harrisburg area as a school guidance counselor for Cumberland Valley School District, where she spent her career.

“It was rewarding,” she said. “Kids, no matter where need an ear to listen to them. Sometimes, that’s all you have to provide.”

When Babs retired, a neighbor on the Board of Managers suggested volunteering for Homeland would be a good fit. Babs has been involved in everything from delivering food-truck French fries to hosting ice cream sundae parties to holding summer picnics in the shade of the Chet Henry Memorial Pavilion. Her husband, Jack, also volunteers, playing piano for Homeland sing-alongs.

“These are hands-on activities with the residents,” Babs said. “That’s the whole thrust of the Board of Managers, to be more involved with the residents, and that’s what I enjoy. It’s why we’re here. Sometimes their days can be long, and certainly, some of them aren’t feeling well some days, so an activity is a way to boost their spirits.”

Since retiring, Babs has also enjoyed volunteering for other causes. She loved the 15 years she spent delivering Meals on Wheels.

“You developed friendships with the people,” she said.

She also served with the Friends of Kline Library, supporting the small but mighty city branch in the Dauphin County Library System near her home in Harrisburg’s historic Bellevue Park.

Babs believes in treating people with dignity, and now, she encounters others who feel the same way.

“As an older person, you appreciate the respect people are trying to give you,” she said. “I notice that everywhere. People are always trying to help me.”

In her time on the Board of Managers, Babs has seen and been a part of Homeland’s growth, including the founding of Homeland at Home, comprising Homeland Hospice, Homeland HomeHealth, and Homeland HomeCare, and most recently Homeland Palliative Care. She said she is impressed by Homeland’s leadership recognizing opportunities to provide additional services the community needs.

“Homeland is just as loving and caring now as it was 155-plus years ago,” she said. “It’s maintained the best-ever reputation.”

Homeland Board of Managers member Judy Bowman: Sharing her blessings

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Homeland Board of Managers member Judy Bowman

As a career physical therapist, Judy Bowman saw many long-term care facilities with loving atmospheres – but none matched the intimacy of Homeland Center.

“Being a smaller place, everybody knows each other here,” she says. “We have more fun interacting with the residents. The staff is unbelievably and truly caring. The residents notice that, and the families notice that.”

Judy serves on the Homeland Board of Managers, a unique panel of women devoted to sustaining Homeland’s renowned homelike feel in décor and activities. The Board of Managers descended from the original 18 women from nine Harrisburg churches who, in 1867, founded the “Home for the Friendless” to shelter Civil War widows and orphans.

Coming full circle, Judy remembers that her mother attended church at one of those nine institutions. Judy’s grandfather would take her mother to visit Bethesda Mission and Homeland Center every Sunday.

Judy joined the Board of Managers in 2020, just when COVID restrictions shut down the fun activities that the board was known for presenting – picnics, Monte Carlo night, even a sock hop featuring an Elvis Presley impersonator.

Now that most restrictions have lifted, the board is in full swing. They have hosted a French fry truck, planned a fall festival, baked cupcakes with the residents, and bought patio furniture and a firepit where residents make s’mores. They also made 250 bows to refresh Homeland’s holiday wreaths and held an ice cream sundae party where residents chose their ice cream flavors and toppings.

“We had so much fun talking to the residents,” Judy says. “That’s what was missing during COVID, that interaction.”

Judy serves on the board’s House and Grounds Committee, sustaining Homeland’s atmosphere as “a beautiful, loving, and caring place.”

“This is the residents’ home,” she says. “Every member of the staff, whether in nursing, housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, or activities, focuses on each person’s needs because everybody’s different.”

As a physical therapist, Judy advocated for legislation benefiting the profession, served as an appointee on the State Board of Physical Therapy, and worked in rehab facilities and for the Visiting Nurses Association. She always gravitated toward working with the elderly.

“I enjoyed the conversations with them and the fact that they so appreciated it,” she says.

Judy and her husband both have strong ties to area history. Judy’s Baum ancestors settled in the region on a land grant from a son of William Penn. Her father worked in management for Hershey Enterprises. For a time, he worked in the factory supply center and had to be available for emergencies, so the family lived in the nearby Homestead, where Milton Hershey was born and perfected his milk chocolate formula.

“I couldn’t understand why people would come up and want to see the house,” she says. “I climbed every tree around there. I always brought little bunnies home and nursed them back to health.”

Judy’s husband, Steve, is a Bowman of Bowman Bowman & Co. department store, founded by his great-grandfather in 1871 and whose flagship stood in downtown Harrisburg for 100 years. Steve worked for the family business until he and his father started a sewer cleaning business. When they sold that enterprise, he went to work part-time for Boscov’s, where you’ll still find him conscientiously serving customers in the shoe department.

“He never gave up retail,” Judy says.

Judy also had her time in retail as a part-time bridal consultant at Boscov’s. Since retiring from PT and Boscov’s in 2019, she has volunteered. At Homeland, she witnesses the extraordinary commitment of staff sharing their enthusiasm and talents, and she has come to grasp the “unbelievable” scope of the work performed by the all-volunteer Board of Managers.

“It is very, very hands-on,” she says. “This board right now has so many different talents, and everybody works together using their strengths and gifts.”

She feels grateful to share her gifts – a lesson she learned from her mother, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dickinson College and taught at Milton Hershey School. Her mother also volunteered for countless community causes, and always had room at the dinner table for any student who dropped by.

“The opportunity to help at Homeland is a blessing,” she says. “It truly is. We have an opportunity to help others, to give back, and to serve others. I think we get more rewarded than the other way around.”

Homeland Board of Managers member Sandra Daily: Giving back on behalf of her family

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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.’”