When Ronald Brinkley visits Homeland Hospice patients, he believes he gets more out of the encounters than they do.

maryann smith and tessy volunteer at Homeland Center
Maryann Smith and Tessy. who enthusiastically greets visitors to Homeland Center's gift shop.  

“It’s been a blessing and truly a privilege,” said Brinkley. “You get to know them well. Most of them are very gracious and thankful that somebody came to see them.”

Brinkley was among the volunteers honored at the Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet in April 2016. Dozens of volunteers filled the Homeland Center main dining room, decorated with pansy centerpieces and tiny stars sprinkled on the tablecloths.

Homeland Hospice Coordinator of Volunteers Leanne Porterfield thanked the volunteers by reciting the lyrics to “Seasons of Love,” from the Broadway musical, Rent which emphasizes the theme of all the friendship and love that can be measured in a year.

“I can’t think of a better thing to share with all of you, for all that you do for the seasons of life that our patients at Homeland Hospice and our residents are Homeland Center are going through,” Porterfield said.

On the rainy day when Don and Lorraine Englander first met, he was whistling “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”

Don and Lorraine Englander
Don and Lorraine Englander  

That was around 1978, and it has been their song ever since.

Today, the Englanders live in separate Homeland wings but they get together every day to talk, laugh, watch TV, and share meals. And they still share all their favorite love songs with each other and with fellow Homeland residents.

Don is an accomplished, lifelong singer and keyboardist who has performed with combos throughout Central Pennsylvania. On Valentine’s Day, he presented a program at Homeland, performing from a playlist of the Sinatra standards that he and his Homeland neighbors love – “Fly Me to the Moon,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “My Funny Valentine.”

While Don performs, Lorraine is at his side. Though his eyesight has deteriorated, he can still play his Yamaha keyboard because he taught Lorraine – who readily admits she “can’t carry a tune in a bucket” – to program the songs.

From Don’s cozy room, Lorraine recalls how she came to Homeland first, from their home on Reeser’s Summit, outside of New Cumberland, where they loved watching storms roll in over the valley. Don followed about a year later to join her.

“I wanted to come here,” he says.

“Because I was here,” Lorraine adds.

In their 67 years of marriage, Flora and Jeff Jespersen have discovered a thing or two about lasting relationships.

Flora and Jeff Jespersen of Homeland Center
Flora and Jeff Jespersen were elected as this year's Homeland Center King and Queen of Hearts in a tradition dating back several years.  

“It takes a little bit of tolerance for each other,” said Jeff Jespersen.

The Jespersens also enjoy the unexpected, and for Valentine’s Day, they got a real surprise – their election as a Homeland King and Queen of Hearts.

In a tradition dating back several years, Homeland residents circulate paper hearts and collect signatures from their neighbors, seeking votes to win the King or Queen of Hearts crowns for their units.

The Jespersens were crowned for the Personal Care Unit. Other winners were King Dale Williams and Queen Laura Buchanon, first-floor skilled nursing; King Michael Fludovich and Queen Wanda Berger, Ellenberger Unit; and King Leslie Kauffman and Queen Polly, second-floor skilled nursing.

While Homeland Center’s role has changed since it was founded almost 150 years ago, one thing has remained the same – the commitment of the staff to those who depend on them for care. 

Barry Ramper gives commemorative Steelers helmet to Felicia Foster
Felicia Foster shows the miniature Steelers helmet signed by Hines Ward she received from Barry S. Ramper II, Homeland Center's president and CEO.  

More than 200 Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice staff gathered this month for the annual recognition celebrating their service and honoring 26 employees who have served five years or more. 

“I thank you on behalf of our residents and patients,’’ said Barry S. Ramper II, Homeland’s president and CEO. “At the heart of truly being of service is when one entrusts their life to you. We are the best at that. If there were 30-plus hospice providers or 66 other skilled nursing and personal care providers in this room – and that’s an approximation of our service area – I would say the same thing.’’ 

Mary Peterson and Chris Fulton at Homeland Center  
Mary Peterson and caregiver Chris Fulton check out some door decorations.  

2015 Homeland Door Decorating Contest Winners:

  • 115 – Martha Finley & Wanda Kardos
  • 207 – Harold Hixon & Raymond Caldwell
  • E6 – Wanda Berger & Agatha Goodwin
  • 1N2 – Eleanor Allen


Nativity scenes and reindeer. Snowmen and penguins. All brightened the hallways of Homeland Center this Christmas, as residents adorned their doorways for the third annual door decorating contest.

Residents and their families are invited to dress up their doors and decorate together for Christmas, just as they’ve done all their lives. Residents and staff judged the artworks for neatness, detail and creativity. All entries showed off Homeland residents’ talents and their love of family, faith, and the holidays.


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