Homeland Center owes its renown, in part, to the expertise and enthusiasm of its board members. Now, it says goodbye to two who have been central to upholding Homeland’s commitment to excellence.
Homeland thanks Kelly Lick, Board of Managers 2014 to 2017, and Gail Siegel, Board of Trustees 2004 to 2017, for their service. Both are leaving their board positions, with vows to continue supporting Homeland.
Kelly Lick first grew impressed with Homeland from the perspective of a family member. Her husband, prominent businessman and philanthropist C. Ted Lick, lived in Homeland’s Personal and Skilled care wings. With help from Homeland Hospice, he spent the last week of his life at home.
“He had nothing but the absolute best of care, and that’s why there was absolutely no hesitation on my part when I was approached about going on the Board of Managers,” says Lick. “Everybody from the cleaning staff to the aides to the maintenance people -- everybody is phenomenal. They’re always so conscientious and so thoughtful and kind to the residents. You can see that people genuinely care. You can’t fake that.”
Lick brought an ideal skills set to the Board of Managers, the unique group responsible for ensuring Homeland’s home-like feel. With her background in insurance, art, and catering, she joined its house and grounds and financial development committees.
Her primary contribution, she feels, has been helping organize “some fantastic parties for the residents.”
There was the summer picnic, complete with swing band, at the Homeland Chet Henry Memorial Pavilion. She has held wreath- and cornucopia-making classes, getting to know residents one-on-one. When residents said they miss French fries – difficult to serve hot as they make the trip to Homeland’s many dining rooms – she recruited a French fry truck that delivered the fresh treat right to the front door.
For Homeland’s 150th anniversary in 2017, she helped solicit advertising for the gala booklet. At the suggestion of Homeland President and CEO Barry S. Ramper II, she helped solicit a wish list from residents of the activities they wanted as part of the celebration. Then she dove in on implementation, helping organize a fish fry, trips to see “The Lion King” in New York and “Pippin” in Lancaster, a casino night, and a performance at Homeland by Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra’s maestro Stuart Malina and musicians.
Though she leaves the board to concentrate on family responsibilities, Lick intends to remain involved, helping organize remaining 150th anniversary events and supporting financial development. When an excursion needs an extra pair of hands, she might go along.
And what has Homeland given her?
“Homeland has further enriched my appreciation of the elderly and how they should be treated,” she says. “It’s been nothing but a positive experience.”
Since 2004, Gail Siegel has served four, three-year terms on the Board of Trustees, Homeland’s policy-setting panel, providing guidance and oversight in operations and finances.
Siegel was enticed to join the board by Morton Spector, who chairs Homeland’s Board of Trustees. She had just retired as executive director of Children’s Playroom, an organization she co-founded to teach skills to parents referred from county agencies and courts.
“We worked with these families to prevent child abuse and get children ready for school,” she says. Spector was on her board – “an extremely helpful and wonderful board member” -- and he gave her a call.
“He said, ‘Homeland is this great organization and serves the community,’” she recalls.
She already knew about Homeland and its sterling reputation because her husband, Conrad “Connie” Siegel, had been the actuary for the pension plan when Homeland was still known as the Home for the Friendless, its original name from its founding in 1867.
Even with her background in human services, adopting board responsibilities in retirement care was “very difficult.”
“There were a lot of acronyms to sort out, and a lot of funding from different governmental sources to follow and figure out what we were supposed to do to comply,” she says. “We heard a lot about rules and regulations and trying to understand how an agency was supposed to function.”
With the complicated issues to sort through, it took about three years to learn the job, but Ramper “tried to make things easier.”
“He’s been absolutely marvelous in running the organization and working with the board,” she says. “He’s so respectful of the board and its decisions. It’s a pleasure to watch.”
Among her board posts, Siegel served on the financial development committee, “one of the pivotal committees in the whole organization,” she believes. “I tried to offer whatever help I could, but mostly, I was learning how the finances work and the investments we needed to keep the organization strong.”
She also felt “a tremendous sense of responsibility” in her service on the board nominating committee, “trying to find people who will give their time and energy and know something that will be valuable to the organization. We’ve had marvelous people.”
She feels she contributed her knowledge of the community and social and educational services to Homeland. Working the full spectrum from early childhood to senior care, she has learned a lesson that she sees in practice every day at Homeland – “respect for people’s wishes.”
“They know how they want their life to be,” she says. “You can’t just walk in and tell somebody, ‘You should do this, and you should do that.’ You need to show by example or give the opportunity for choice.”
Siegel and her husband spend half the year in California, near their son and his family. She hasn’t set her sights on any new pursuits, but Homeland remains in her thoughts.
“When you look at how the regulations are increasing in state and federal government, and you look at how alongside that, the funding is decreasing, my goal is that we manage to find money to keep the residents in good condition and enjoying life,” she says.