Barry Ramper in the dunk tank
Homeland resident Mary Peterson, assisted by caregiver Chris Fulton, gets ready to dunk Barry Ramper.  

Homeland resident Mary Peterson, assisted by caregiver Chris Fulton, gets ready to dunk center President and CEO Barry Ramper II.

Barry S. Ramper II begged Mary Peterson not to hit the button that would send him into the dunk tank. The center’s president and CEO playfully wagged a finger and urged her to rethink what she was about to do.

Ignoring Ramper’s pleas, Mary hit the button and to the delight of the crowd at Homeland Center’s 2014 Summertime Fair, Ramper dropped into the waiting four feet of water.

The dunking resulted from a promise Ramper made weeks earlier: If $5,000 was raised for the residents’ activities fund before the Aug. 9 fair, he would take the plunge.

An anonymous donor contributed the entire $5,000, putting Homeland well on the way to its goal of raising $10,000 from the fair. Additional money was raised at the event from a white elephant sale, refreshments and tickets to the fair’s games and attractions.

“What you have done is given us an opportunity to provide more activities for our residents,’’ a thoroughly soaked but smiling Ramper said of the donor’s generous gift. “The fund helps us provide a broad range of life-enriching social experiences.’’

Emergency checklist
Homeland Center officials never stop preparing for emergencies.

It’s an unfortunate reality in today's world that organizations of all types must imagine – and prepare and train for – the worst emergency scenarios. Detailed disaster
and emergency planning is at the heart of Homeland Center’s commitment to the safety and security of our residents and staff.

Preparation begins at the top, with Homeland Center President and CEO Barry Ramper II. He is involved in every aspect of Homeland Center’s emergency planning and preparedness. Ramper keeps Homeland’s emergency plan with him at all times. It’s an ever-changing document, constantly updated to include the latest thinking on how to remain safe in a variety of situations.

All the preparation and planning ensures that every Homeland Center manager and employee knows his or her unique role in the event of an emergency and that the ability to transition into crisis management and emergency response is second nature.

Additionally, Homeland maintains a working relationship with state, county and city emergency services and disaster response officials, who would swing into action.

It’s all part of Homeland’s commitment to the protection and welfare of our residents – and to the peace of mind of their families and loved ones.

Herm Minkoff talks to, from left, residents Dick Simons, Edwin Kingston, Stanley Fabiano and Verna Tarasi

Herm Minkoff talks to, from left, residents Dick Simons, Edwin Kingston, Stanley Fabiano and Verna Tarasi

Herm Minkoff asks the group: Should colleges pay their athletes? After all, schools make millions. Coaches make millions, plus bonuses for steering their teams toward championship games.

Dick Simons believes in a “reasonable reimbursement,” after accounting for scholarships and such. Verna Tarasi isn’t sure. Stanley Fabiano agrees with Simons that some payment seems fair.

“The major problem,” Fabiano adds to the debate, “is if they give it to one sport, they’d have to give it to all the sports.”

Welcome to Sports Talk at Homeland Center. Every other Thursday, residents and rehab patients gather near the beauty salon, just beside the eye-catching saltwater aquarium, for a discussion of sports topics led by Minkoff.

Former Homeland administrator Isabelle SmithIt was 1975, and Homeland Center’s first paid administrator had a lot to do – implement strict state safety codes, adopt city fire regulations and restructure how care was provided to qualify for Medicaid and Medicare.

But Isabelle Smith added another task to the serious safety and financial issues on her plate. Homeland’s main building, the brick structure dating to 1870, was painted an ugly yellow.

“It was grotesque,” Smith recalls. ”It was peeling and peeling.” So, Smith convinced the board president to sandblast off the paint and construct a presentable façade, so the building “looked like it should be there.”

Isabelle Smith became a Homeland resident in late 2012, but her Homeland history dates to her time as administrator from 1975 to 1992. Under her leadership, Homeland survived a crisis that threatened to shut its doors, emerging as today’s model of stability and responsive, responsible care.

As Homeland enters its 147th year, Smith looks back on the challenges she faced, as well as the triumphs.

Homeland Center’s renovated library named in honor of philanthropist Ted Lick

Peggy Purdy, Kelly Lick and Morton SpectorLarge print books, a touch screen computer and a new cooking area are among the renovations to Homeland Center’s library made possible through a generous donation by the wife of the late Harrisburg philanthropist Ted Lick.

Members of Homeland’s boards of trustees and managers recently joined with Kelly Lick in dedicating the revamped library as the Ted Lick Room. Kelly Lick’s donation of more than $150,000 also allowed for the remodeling of a skilled care room and the purchase of a handicapped-accessible van.

“It did not take long when you looked into Ted Lick’s eyes to see where his heart and his passion lay,’’ said Barry S. Ramper II, Homeland’s president and CEO. Ramper recalled that Homeland used many products from Ted Lick’s Harrisburg Paper Company and that Lick would personally call to ensure all was well.

“That personal touch clearly was as at the heart of the person who built a tremendous company and was a tremendous person,’’ Ramper said during the dedication, which included unveiling plaques honoring Ted Lick that will be placed in the library and skilled care room.


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