A rainy day couldn’t spoil the fun of when Homeland Center kicked off the 2018 summer season with an annual tradition – the return of monthly all-American picnics for residents and families.

Since Ellenberger Unit memory care residents couldn’t go outside for the picnic, the picnic came inside. Seated at tables decorated in summery red, white, and blue, residents hosted family members over traditional picnic fare of hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, pickled eggs, and watermelon.

No sooner had Homeland Center opened its doors in Harrisburg to care for those left widowed and orphaned by the Civil War than Pennsylvania Congressman John Christian Kunkel, a friend of Abraham Lincoln, stepped forward to offer financial support.

Decades later his grandson, John Crain Kunkel, continued his family’s traditions of both serving as a Pennsylvania Congressman from 1961 to 1966 and, with his wife Katherine “Kitty’’ Kunkel, supporting Homeland.

 Joanne Creason remembers working her father’s neighborhood movie theaters in Harrisburg. She did everything but run the projector – booking movies, selling tickets, working the concessions counter and keeping a close eye on the children attending the Saturday matinees.

“They could misbehave a little until I caught them,” she said.

Carmella “BJ” Williams promised she wouldn’t cry, but her co-workers spotted signs of tears as she accepted recognition for her 25 years of service to Homeland Center.

“Congratulations to all my staff in dietary and for all the teamwork at Homeland,” said the assistant director of nutritional services. “We pull together for the residents.’’

A steady drizzle on the heels of severe thunderstorms earlier in the week was a fitting backdrop as Homeland Center unveiled its new $700,000 emergency generator that will enhance the safety its 145 residents on May 17, 2018.

“We realized we had to, in the best of interest of our residents, become self-sustaining to the greatest degree that we possibly could,’’ said Barry Ramper II, Homeland’s President and CEO during a recent ceremony at Homeland Center in the Chet Henry Pavilion.


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