Gala crowd shot websize A beacon of care and stability. A model for change.

This is the Homeland Center that was celebrated on May 7, 2017, when Homeland’s many friends gathered to celebrate the 150th anniversary of a storied Harrisburg institution.

Homeland’s 150th anniversary gala, held at the Hilton Harrisburg, was noted for its elegance, its reverence for the past, and its confidence in a bright future.

In 1867, 18 Harrisburg women pooled their energies and talents to create “The Home for the Friendless.” Originally meant to shelter Civil War widows and orphans, it evolved over 150 years to become Homeland Center, the region’s premier Continuing Care Retirement Community and service provider.

Few central Pennsylvania organizations can boast the longevity of Homeland, and the anniversary event attracted 400 people representing all corners of the region’s business, culture, and nonprofit segments.

Betty Wise Betty Wise enjoys sharing her paintings with family and friends, but there is one painting she will never give away. It’s her first, a view of rowboats on a shimmering blue ocean. She copied from a picture in a book and after she had finished, Betty’s art teacher said, “You’re going to be a painter.”

Today, Betty is a 10-year resident of Homeland who is known for her enjoyment of painting and devotion to attending Homeland’s regular art classes.

The native of Tower City, Pennsylvania, grew up with four sisters and one brother. Their dad was a miner who passed on his love of vegetable gardening to Betty. Their mother was a garment worker.

Betty always wanted to be a hairdresser, but for miners’ families, strikes were a fact of life, and money for schooling wasn’t available. To indulge her love for hairdressing, Betty would go into homes up and down the street, charging 25 cents to put up the girls’ hair in pin curls. That evening, she would undo the pins, and “everybody would go to the dance with their hair all done up.”

Even today, Betty loves to have her hair done, saving quarters won from playing bingo for her weekly trip to Homeland’s popular beauty shop.

Pauline Neal For 49 years, Pauline Neal delivers joy!

Pauline Neal has trained thousands of Homeland employees, and she tells them all the same thing she heard when she was hired in 1959.

“Always remember that this facility doesn’t belong to anyone but the people who live here,” the Homeland matron told Pauline. “It’s their home. It’s not ours. We’re invited guests in their home, and we’re paid invited guests.”

The native of Huntingdon, PA, first worked in Harrisburg facilities as a nurses’ aide. She never worked in a nursing capacity for Homeland, but for 49 years, she has held multiple caregiving roles – as director of housekeeping and linens, food services director, resident liaison, and now, part-time receptionist.

A mainstay for nearly one-third of Homeland’s 150 years, Pauline has touched countless lives through her attention to detail, her empathy for residents and families, and her devotion to keeping the “home” in Homeland.

Homeland Center
150th Anniversary Gala

May 7, 2017

Thank you to our sponsors, patrons and friends!

A Homeland Center Lottery Calendar is truly a gift that keeps giving – to its owner as well as the community!

Through the end of December, 365 checks totaling more than $13,000 have been distributed to the winners of our daily drawings. Thanks to everyone who participated in our inaugural Anniversary calendar. 

2018 calendars are now available. To order online, please go to or contact Ed Savage at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 717-221-7885. 

Not only will the money collected for every calendar benefit Homeland’s benevolent care fund, but calendar owners have a chance to win daily prizes ranging from $30 to $500. Another $13,000 will be awarded throughout 2018! 


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