the zembo string band played in the chapel
The Zembo String Band entertained residents and guests in Homeland's Chapel.  

On a chilly night in December, the atmosphere inside Homeland Center was warm and loving. Every space filled with residents and invited guests exchanging good wishes and laughter. Live music filled three dining rooms and the chapel. Tables groaned with food, all of it homemade by Homeland staff. Wreaths hung on the walls, and Christmas trees brightened the rooms.

In the annals of holiday open houses, Homeland’s yearly holiday party, organized by the Board of Managers, is unique. Up and down every hall, every gathering space was adapted to accommodate as many as 500 guests. The tradition dates to 1978, giving residents the chance to send invitations and host family and friends in sharing the holiday spirit. 

Trenisha Gray and Tina Dinger

In the life of a nurse, organization and efficiency are key. Here, Trenisha Gray finds a hallway moment to consult with Homeland dietary specialist Tina Dinger about a patient’s care. 


Nurse Manager Trenisha Gray helps make Homeland a home!

Trenisha Gray’s office is a small getaway directly off the first floor hallway of Homeland Center’s skilled care unit. The only decoration, standing on top of a hutch, is a colorful greeting card proclaiming, “Hoping your new job is a bright new beginning.”

Gray received the card just a few days after starting as a Homeland nurse manager in October 2016. Coming from the family member of a resident, it made Gray feel welcome and helped her realize the strong ties that people have to Homeland.

“It told me that families are involved and very welcoming, and they do appreciate the care that we give,” she says. “It encouraged me to want to work even harder and give my best even more.”

Gray has worked in hospital and nursing settings, in cardiac and psych units, before joining Homeland. She came to Homeland because she “always heard great things about it.”

“I enjoy that it’s a 5-star Medicare facility,” she says. “They center around the residents. That’s the most amazing part.”

Gray is a Harrisburg native who graduated from Harrisburg School District’s prestigious Sci-Tech High School. In college, she was undecided about a major, but then she came home to help care for a grandmother diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. That’s when she realized that nursing was her field. It felt natural, “being able to care for someone, and having empathy.”

Karen Drancik presents Family Love Letters min
Karen Drancik offers a dynamic presentation alerting Homeland residents and their families of the need for documenting all the information necessary in case of a loved one's death or incapacitation.  

What frustrates executors of estates the most? That they can’t find the documents and information essential to wrapping up the affairs of someone who has passed away, financial planning executive Karen Drancik told Homeland residents and family members recently.

“We love our family, and we don’t want our passing or incapacity to become any more traumatic to our family members by leaving a mess behind,” said Drancik during a recent presentation entitled “Family Love Letter: A Gift of Time, Love and Clarity.

Drancik, vice president and senior consultant of Neuberger Berman Advisor Institute, walked attendees through a detailed planning guide called “Family Love Letter.”

Everyone starts generating documents from the day we’re born, Drancik said. Families must share that information before death or incapacitation to help survivors “navigate the paper trail.”

“We love our family, and we don’t want our passing or incapacity to become any more traumatic to our family members by leaving a mess behind,” she said.

HARRISBURG, PA (November 16, 2016) – Homeland Center received a perfect 5.0 score in U.S News and World Report’s Best Nursing Homes 2016-17 released today and available at 

According to U.S. News, only 13 percent of the more than 15,000 nursing homes evaluated nationwide achieved "Best" status by earning a rating of at least 4.5. 

“We are honored to receive this recognition from U.S. News & World Report, which is a testament to our dedicated and caring staff,’’ said Barry S. Ramper II, Homeland’s president and CEO. “Next year Homeland will celebrate its 150th anniversary, and this recognition underscores the commitment we have to provide the highest quality care to our community.’’ 

Mary Yanich min
As she nears her 100th birthday, Mary Yanich credits hard work for her longevity. She has owned a grocery store, sold shoes, been active in her church, and even helped her family's bootlegging business as a girl during prohibition.  

Friendliness and hard work help Mary Yanich reach her 100th birthday!

What’s the secret to living 100 years? Homeland Center resident Mary Yanich credits her devotion to hard work – even when that meant tending her father’s moonshine still during Prohibition.

“I loved to work,” says Mary. “I asked my mother once why she always asked me to do things when there were other brothers and sisters around, and she said, ‘I know, but when I call for Mary, Mary jumps.’”

Yanich’s birthday on Oct. 27, 2016, represents 100 full years -- upholding the traditions of her parents’ native Serbia, raising a family, supporting her church, and working inside and outside the home.

Mary, who had six siblings, was born in Farrell, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Midland, Ohio. Her father owned a gas station and a farm, where apples, pears, and grapes grew in the orchards.

“I have a picture of me up in a tree eating an apple,” she says. “It was a beautiful, beautiful farm.”

Mary doesn’t hide her family’s bootlegging past and the whiskey produced to bring in income. At 8 years old, according to her son, Ted Yanich, she worked nighttime, two-hour shifts tending the fire under the still. She also rode with the milk man on his morning rounds, carrying whiskey hidden in hot-water bottles that she distributed to customers along the route.


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