Typing handwritten recipes into a computer, even with a broken wrist. Playing table games with an elderly hospice patient who outfoxes his opponents every time.
The spirit of volunteerism energizes Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice. Homeland Center’s 104 volunteers and Homeland Hospice’s 54 volunteers enjoyed an elegant dinner recognizing their contributions in helping Homeland maintain the highest standards of personal attention and engagement.
“Thank you,” Homeland Center President/CEO Barry S. Ramper II told the volunteers. “We deeply appreciate your commitment in choosing to use the most valuable commodity you have – your time – in the interest of serving others – namely, the residents of Homeland Center, patients of Homeland Hospice, and clients of Homeland HomeCare.”
About 80 volunteers joined Homeland residents and staff in the Homeland Main Dining Room, enjoying a meal of raspberry marinated herb chicken breast, parmesan roasted red potatoes, and green beans almandine, prepared by Homeland culinary staff. There was a special treat as well: a repeat performance of song parodies written for Homeland’s 150th-anniversary gala by local actors Rick Stevens and Debbie Smith, accompanied by pianist Steve Rudolph.
Each volunteer received a “Kind” bar – a chocolate bar from Matangos Candies, customized with Homeland’s logo – and thanked for making a difference in the life of a resident or patient. Special awards were received by:
• Sherry Lank, most administrative hours for Homeland Hospice, 163.5 hours.
• Ron Brinkley, most patient care hours for Homeland Hospice, 148.5 hours.
• Wendy Shearer, Homeland Center gift shop volunteer.
• Tyana Jennings, a teen volunteer who spends much of her free time as a companion to Homeland Center residents.
Each volunteer has a story to tell of touching a life or many lives.
Homeland Hospice volunteers Phil Talarico and Ken Decker rotate Tuesday mornings playing dominoes and card games with an elderly Dillsburg-area patient who is always smiling and ready for the challenge.
“I have only beaten him in Five Crowns less than five times in over a year,” said Talarico, of Upper Allen Twp. “He wipes me out every week.”
The Dillsburg patient is surrounded by family, but other hospice patients “don’t have that advantage,” said Talarico, a 10-year Homeland Hospice veteran. “People like to have company, so it’s a good thing to let them talk and share.”
For patients nearing the end of life, hospice volunteers are a comforting presence, said Decker, of Silver Spring Twp. “They need somebody to be at their side. I know that God’s there with me to help that patient take the final step.”
Homeland Hospice volunteers include companions to patients, errand runners for families, vigil keepers, envelope stuffers, and support group assistants, said Leanne Porterfield, coordinator of volunteers.
“They are givers – of time, of passion, of self,” she said. “Homeland Hospice is blessed by their amazing gift and spirit. They are certainly deserving of our heartfelt gratitude.”
At Homeland Center, volunteer Barbara Cleeland says she does “the humdrum work” such as alphabetizing files to help development office staff concentrate on fundraising.
“They have more important things to do,” she said.
Barbara also brings 46 years of high-level management to her post. From the 1960s until retirement in 1984, she was West Coast reservations office manager for British Airways – the first woman to hold that post for the airline. Among her fond memories of working for the airline is seeing the curvature of the earth and the deep cobalt blue of the atmosphere while flying on the Concorde from Washington to London in the 1970s.
Barbara had a broken wrist when she typed in all the recipes, many handwritten, for the 150th anniversary “Heritage Recipes from Homeland Center.”
“We had recipes from residents and family members and board of directors,” she said. “They came in all shapes and sizes.” However, with help from software supplied by the cookbook publisher, “it didn’t take long.”
Barbara also serves on Homeland Center’s Board of Managers, supporting projects to keep Homeland’s public spaces refurbished.
“We like to have the place looking nice,” she said. “It gives a good appearance. My father was here. My sister was here. I know it matters to the residents.”