Herm Minkoff stands in the Homeland Diner before a group of residents. On the table are news clippings All the news with Herm Minkoff at Homeland Centerand books.

“Who has been following the stock market?” he asks.

“It’s up,” says one resident. “About 300.”

It’s been a volatile couple of weeks, Minkoff agrees. “The stock market right now is like a roller-coaster.”

“Yeah,” says another resident. “Take a guess!”

This is Homeland’s twice-monthly sports and current events talk, led by Herm Minkoff. The retired furniture dealer volunteers his time to help Homeland residents stay on top of the news of the day. In the process, he has earned the appreciation of Homeland residents and staff for his untiring service.  

Minkoff loves the people of Homeland right back. They grieved with him after the death of his wife, and they constantly support his volunteer work. Volunteers are essential to achieving Homeland’s mission of assuring residents safe, active lives. Minkoff embodies the character traits valued in volunteers – his upbeat attitude, his concern for others, his gift for communications, and his genuine compassion for the well-being of others.

“It’s a good thing when you help people out like this,” says Minkoff.

World War II took loved ones. It opened doors to opportunity, service, and sacrifice. It was a time when many Homeland Central Penn students talk to residents about Pearl Harbor at Homeland Centerresidents matured quickly from children to adults, and it all started with the bombing of the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.

On Dec. 7, 2015, Homeland Center residents gathered in the chapel to share memories of the “date which will live in infamy” with students from Central Penn College. The students then recalled the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., and the two generations bonded over the impact that national crises had on their lives.

“I was the first boy to be drafted from my school, and I finished,” said Homeland resident Don Englander. “I was one of the lucky ones.”

The Central Penn College students belonged to Rotaract, a Rotary Club initiative for 18-to-30-year-olds. The Homeland visit was the first community service project by the new club, sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg North.

About a dozen residents shared their Pearl Harbor memories with seven students. Resident Harry Zimmerman was 13 years old, living in Harrisburg, when he heard newsboys outside, shouting about their extra editions.

“It was a different world back then,” he said. “We didn’t even have electricity.”

Luminous, late-morning sunlight streamed across the patterned carpet of the chapel of Homeland Center one recent

Pastor Dann and his father, Ray at Homeland Center
Rev. Dann Caldwell and his father, Ray, sing together at Homeland Center's monthly Wednesday morning prayer service.  

Wednesday in early autumn -- so much so that resident Ray Caldwell, 85, politely asked for the blinds to be drawn.

As he faced 12 of his fellow residents and prepared to sing by the stone altar and marble columns, the golden sunlight was blinding.

It was an apt prelude to the Gospel message expounded upon in a strong, soothing voice by Ray’s son, Rev. Dann Caldwell, chaplain of Homeland Hospice: that the Lord is the light of the world. Then, together, father and son sang “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” 

The father-son vocal performance is often one of the highlights of the monthly Wednesday morning prayer service.

The duo sang often as part of a musical family, when Pastor Dann led Charlton United Methodist Church in Lower Paxton Township.  Dann’s mom Betty, who still lives in the family home, sings tenor as part of the Sweet Adelines, and both Dann’s brother Rick and son, Peter, sing as well.

Three generations of Caldwells once performed the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” during Fourth of July services at his Lower Paxton church, when Dann’s son Peter, now 15, was only 4.

“That‘s one of my father’s favorite hymns,” said Dann.  “And that’s one of my special memories,” as he recited the famous words—“Mine eyes have seen the glory….”

Legend has it that on one night of the year, Homeland Center is haunted by ghosts and goblins. Also, Zion Jones and Betty Wise Halloween at Homeland Centerpint-sized firefighters, princesses, Ninjas, and many, many Spidermans.

This is Homeland’s annual Trick or Treat, an evening in late October when residents and staff join to relive Halloween memories, celebrate family, and of course, get candy.

On this night, staff bring their youngsters, dressed in their Halloween finest, to trick or treat in Homeland’s hallways and gathering places. Homeland provides the candy that residents distribute.

As Homeland Center celebrates a year marked by glowing state inspections and the ability to provide increased benevolent care, the kudos came with a word of caution. 

Barry Ramper at the 2015 board meeting
"The foundation of our future success is to provide consistent quality for residents and patients who have entrusted the end of their lives to use,'' said Barry S. Ramper II, President and CEO.  

In the highly regulated health care field, few organizations reach Homeland’s level of quality, said President and CEO Barry S. Ramper II during the recently held annual meeting of the center’s boards of Trustees and Managers. He warned, however, that today’s success is not simply guaranteed tomorrow. 

“The only way success will happen in the future is if we make it happen,’’ Ramper said. “The foundation of our future success is to provide consistent quality for residents and patients who have entrusted the end of their lives to us.’’ 

Homeland Hospice, which earlier this year started Central Pennsylvania’s only dedicated pediatric hospice program, continues to grow and receive superior quality assurance reports that set it apart from its peers. 

“We have an unbelievably good staff that works with families,’’ Ramper said of Homeland Hopsice. “They provide a service that is almost broaching what most would believe to be impossible to do.’’ 

In keeping with its mission to help those in need, Homeland Center provided $3.3 million in benevolent care for residents, a 32 percent increase. The money benefits residents whose true cost of care is not covered by medical assistance and residents who have exhausted all of their assets. 


Zoom A+ A- Reset