Volunteers and their 'gifts'.

The volunteers of Homeland share more than their time. They also share life lessons in generosity, giving, and selflessness.

“For you to take the time you take to serve the best interest of our patients, residents, and clients – sincerely, I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Homeland Center President and CEO Barry Ramper II said during the annual celebration of all things volunteering.

Volunteers provide essential support for Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice, offering companionship to residents and patients, and administrative help to office staff. At the thank-you dinner, Homeland’s culinary staff served a meal of grilled chicken breast, fresh asparagus, rosemary roasted red potatoes, and tempting desserts.

Held in the Main Dining Room, bouquets of daisies and carnations adorned the tables, and walls and windows flaunted crisp new décor – flowers and redecorating all done by Homeland Center’s unique, volunteer Board of Managers. The program started with selections sung by Brothers in Arms, a young a cappella quartet sharingexpertly performed barbershop standards.

Each volunteer received a small herb planter, an appropriate memento of the seeds of volunteerism that blossom into inspiration. Those honored for the most hours logged and for longevity, plus the dedicated spirit they gave to Homeland Center, over the last year were:
• Barbara Pak, 165 hours, who visits residents and helps with lunch duties.
• Judie Marcus, 304 hours, including 276 hours working in Homeland Center’s gift shop and 28 hours for Homeland Hospice, where she helps clients stay engaged.
• Lee Jackson, 187 hours supporting the Homeland Hospice bereavement program, plus additional hours decorating holiday trees and preparing hors-d’oeuvres for an event.
• Ann Phillips, 122 hours supporting the Homeland Hospice bereavement program and Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk.
• Longevity: Gloria Minuer, 19 years.

Good friends Doris Coyne and Flora Jespersen were recognized posthumously for their 20 years of volunteer service by Homeland Activities Director and Volunteer Coordinator Gillian Sumpter. They are, Sumpter hopes, “playing bridge and taking charge in heaven.”

Sumpter also presented a clock to the daughters of the late Herm Minkoff, host of Homeland’s popular Sports Talk with Herm. His lively, bi-weekly gathering covered not just athletics but their meaning in society and sometimes the controversies that come with them.

“My father loved this place,” said Herm’s daughter Sheri Solomon. “For days, he would put his discussions together, and he would be so excited. After our mother passed away four years ago, Homeland became a significant place for him. Thank you all so very much for letting him have the joy of Homeland every other Thursday.”

Homeland Hospice Coordinator of Volunteers Laurie Murry thanked all the volunteers for their dedication.

“When you give away an hour, it’s gone. It can’t be copied. It can’t be duplicated or regulated,” Murry said. “We would be poorer if we didn’t remember that the giving of your time is the richest thing you can do.”

After the ceremony, longtime volunteer Gloria Minuer said she always enjoyed directing engaging activities such as You Be the Judge, where residents heard the details of actual court cases, passed judgment, and then learned how juries ruled.

“I don’t think there’s any other place like Homeland,” she said. “They do their best to keep everything on the highest level possible.”

Volunteer Lee Jackson said he feels gratification for doing work at which he excels. He has learned to appreciate the behind-the-scenes work needed to maintain excellence at Homeland Hospice. “Working in the office and seeing what they do is pretty amazing,” he said.

Ramper closed the night by telling guests that Minkoff, who regularly posted 5K times that beat much younger runners, will leave behind a legacy of motivation that will inspire him “for the rest of my life.”

Homeland could not have maintained the highest-level quality of care for 152 years without “a strong, committed volunteer group that supported, assisted, gave counsel, gave guidance, and supports development efforts.”

“It’s not about the number of people involved,” Ramper said. “It’s how committed the hearts are of the people who are involved. The most important thing in this room is a collective heart that is unsurpassed.”

 
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