A Decade of Dedication: Meet Tera and Alice



One of the most precious commodities we have in life is time. During an average week, we give 40 hours or more of our valuable time to our job. The fortunate are able to combine their career with their passions and interests. The blessed hear a calling to non-profit-based work, and find gratification in being able to stop counting hours and start changing lives.

Alice Kirchner, Strategic Planning and Special Projects for Homeland Center and Homeland at Home, and Tera Quarcco, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for Homeland Hospice, are two such individuals whose paths have led them to fulfill a calling to support the compassionate work of Homeland. Alice and Tera have each worked for Homeland for more than 10 years.

As a CNA, Tera is part of the Homeland Hospice team providing direct care so patients and their families can make the most of their time together. Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

Tera believes her work is a true calling and cherishes the bonds she has formed with patients and families.

“Every patient has a special place in my heart,” Tera says. “It’s a privilege to help families find comfort and peace during an end-of-life journey.”

Like Tera, Alice felt a calling to this mission. After she retired in 2009 from a career with IBM, Alice became a hospice volunteer. At the time, Homeland Hospice was a newly formed outreach program of Homeland Center. She immediately loved the patients, families and staff. After two years, Alice was hired part-time as a bereavement coordinator.

“This is where I wanted to be,” Alice says. “My heart was dedicated to the work of hospice.”

Alice studied thanatology to understand the spiritual, social and human behavior aspects of end-of-life care. This education, along with her experience in strategic planning, led her to her current role with Homeland Hospice and Homeland Center six years ago. Today, Alice is working to ensure Homeland serves the needs of the community for the next 150 years.

“Everything I have ever done in my career has led me to where I am at Homeland,” Alice adds. “I love this work.”

Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves 14 communities throughout Central Pennsylvania by providing end-of-life care either in a person’s home or wherever they reside, including nursing facilities. Homeland also provides bereavement support to families for a full 13 months following the death of their loved one. This service is available to anyone in the community who is experiencing grief.

To learn more, please contact at Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.

For Love of Country: Retired Chief Petty Officer and Corpsman John Keeney


Retired Chief Petty Officer and Corpsman John Keeney died on August 4, 2019. On July 24, 2019, Homeland Hospice honored John for his remarkable courage and sacrifice for our country. We share this article to honor John’s legacy.

“When I returned from active duty in Vietnam, I was greeted by protesters in San Francisco,” retired Chief Petty Officer and Corpsman John Keeney recalled. “I’ve held on to that hurt until today.”

On July 24, 2019, Homeland Hospice along with the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Harrisburg, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and local retired Chief Petty Officers recognized John with a special pinning ceremony for his remarkable valor and allegiance to our country. Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

Retired Chief Petty Officer and Corpsman John Keeney and Co.

At the time of the ceremony, John was a resident of Harmony at West Shore in Mechanicsburg. In addition to active and retired military officers, John’s family, residents of Harmony and members of the community gathered to honor him for his selfless acts of courage during some of the darkest hours in our country’s history.

As a Navy corpsman, John provided medical support to sailors and Marines in combat during his tour in the Korean War and two tours in the Vietnam War. As a sign of respect, the Marines address corpsman as “Doc.” A distinguished few are known as “Devil Doc” for their proven valor in battle. John was a Devil Doc.

At the pinning ceremony, Command Chief Christian Jimenez, NOSC Harrisburg, presented John with a Navy anchor pin insignia and named him honorary member of the master chiefs association.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your service,” Jimenez said. “You are what we all aspire to become.”

At the close of the ceremony, Chaplain Mark P. Harris, M.A., M.Div., Spiritual Counselor at Homeland Hospice, led military members in a salute to John. Mark also retired from the United States Navy as a corpsman and has a special place in his heart for his fellow “Docs.”

For Love of Country: Retired Chief Petty Officer and Corpsman John Keeney

“John lived the words ‘country first,’” Marks said. “Despite the challenges of combat, he was a humble servant to our nation up until his last day.”

During his tours of duty in Vietnam, John was responsible for completing the necessary paperwork to ensure qualified sailors and Marines received their Purple Heart Medals. He put his comrades first and turned down two Purple Heart Medals because he felt others were more deserving.

Eleven days following the pinning ceremony, John died.

“I spent time with John several days after the ceremony,” Mark adds. “He felt at peace with himself and the world around him. It was an honor to know him.”

Homeland honors all who served through its We Honor Veterans program, created by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The program works to improve the quality of health care for all veterans. Homeland Hospice has been part of the program for seven years.

To learn more, please contact Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.