At her first Homeland Board of Managers meeting, Sherry Stout was in awe.
“The thing I most remember was the emphasis on excellence,” she recalls. “Homeland doesn’t accept anything but hard work. We expect the best, and we are going to be the best.”
Sherry and her husband Bill Stout, retired chairman and CEO of global engineering firm Gannett Fleming, share an insider’s view into Homeland’s commitment to excellence. Currently, they are the sole husband-wife pairing to serve on Homeland’s unique dual-board structure. He belongs to the Board of Trustees, which oversees policy and finances, while she is a mainstay of the Board of Managers, responsible for enhancing resident life.
The board arrangement allows Homeland to channel the varied talents of top civic leaders into sustaining Homeland’s standing as a caring organization that includes a CMS Five-Star Skilled Nursing Care Facility rating, Medicare’s highest citation.
“The residents come first,’’ Sherry says. “We don’t compromise when it comes to the residents. This is their home. This is where they live.”
Their connection to Homeland began when a friend and mentor of Sherry’s told her about the Board of Managers. The relationship has paralleled Homeland’s growth from a purely physical facility into a community service provider. When she joined the board, planning was underway for Homeland Hospice, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019.
In 2016, Homeland launched Homeland HomeHealth, a service implementing physician-ordered care plans at home, and Homeland HomeCare, providing in-home help with medical and daily living needs.
Through the Board of Managers, Sherry has helped organize sing-alongs and parties, hang artwork, renovate resident rooms, and write birthday cards for staff.
“I’ve done a lot of flower arranging,” she adds. “Our fresh flowers in the dining rooms are really important. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is.”
Through those years, Bill pitched in when he could, occasionally lending his baritone voice to sing-alongs or getting to know Homeland at holiday parties. He enlisted Gannett Fleming to support Homeland’s 145th-anniversary gala. When the 150th anniversary arrived a year after he retired, both Bill and Sherry helped recruit sponsors and advertising.
Bill joined the Board of Trustees in September 2018. While other boards he has served on “provide a general service to the community,” Homeland is “a little more focused.”
“It’s not a community of thousands,” he says. “It’s a community of hundreds. It makes it a little more personal.”
The Board of Trustees attracts the region’s leading citizens, Bill notes. When they choose to devote their energy and talents, “that speaks volumes about Homeland.”
Faith and supporting the community are important to the Stouts. They help organize their church’s support for Downtown Daily Bread, a Harrisburg homeless service provider. Bill teaches Sunday school and sings in the choir. Sherry prepares bread for the communion committee and cooks for the casserole ministry – lasagna is a favorite – that provides ready-made meals for church members in need.
Sherry extended the casserole committee’s scope to Homeland Hospice, making dishes to be frozen and shared with families.
Together, Sherry and Bill describe a lifetime partnership built on each other’s strengths.
“She’s nurturing,” he says. “Whether it’s through a casserole or visiting with a resident or helping Homeland look nicer through flowers, it’s about caring and nurturing. It’s what she does.”
Bill “is tremendously organized and analytical,” says Sherry. “He can look at a situation and analyze what needs to be done and where things need to go. He listens.”
Now that Bill has retired, the couple hopes to travel more and a trip to the Holy Land is on their bucket list. They also enjoy spending time with their three grown children and love it when they get to care for their 2-year-old granddaughter.
Both are committed to ensuring Homeland’s continued place as a beacon of excellence in the community.
“I hope that Homeland can grow where it is in terms of residential care and also be able to grow Homeland Hospice, Homeland HomeHealth, and Homeland HomeCare,” Bill says. “The skill sets that the people of Homeland have can be extended beyond Homeland Center to people in their homes.”