Archives: Homeland Hospice


‘In Sickness and In Health’: Local Couple Faces End-of-Life Journey with Courage


“In sickness and in health” are five simple words couples pledge on their wedding day. These words become the most sacred of promises during challenging times.

Debra and Mike of Dauphin County have kept this vow for 57 years of marriage. During their decades together they have raised two children, hosted countless holiday meals and celebrated birthday parties in the home they have shared for 52 years. Their lives changed when the “in sickness” chapter began six years ago when Mike’s health began to deteriorate. But Debra is not alone in caring for Mike. She has the compassion and support of Homeland Hospice to help her keep her promise.

Mike has struggled with various health challenges since 2009 when he underwent heart bypass surgery. His health began to decline rapidly in 2017 when he was diagnosed with Venous Disease, which forms painful blisters and skin discoloration from his knees to his ankles. The severity of the disease makes him unable to walk without the assistance of a walker. Around this time, Mike was also diagnosed with dementia.

In November of 2022, the culmination of Mike’s illnesses led to a 10-day hospital stay. Debra and her children knew Mike could not come home and solely rely on the care of his family. Debra was aware of Homeland’s reputation for high-quality, compassionate care and explored their continuum of care services. She toured Homeland Center, a private, nonprofit retirement community in Harrisburg, as well as the organization’s outreach services.

“I wanted to know all the possible options of care for Mike’s changing health needs,” Debra says. “Homeland alleviated my concerns.”

Debra and her children decided home care would provide Mike the most comfort and peace. Debra’s son rearranged the living room for Mike’s return from his hospital stay.

“Mike’s bed faces the window so he can watch the deer outside,” Debra says. “I know this brings him joy.”

When Mike first returned home, he received palliative care services from Homeland to help manage his health issues. As his well-being continued to decline, Mike transitioned to Homeland Hospice care for his end-of-life journey.

Mike’s dementia and advanced health issues makes communication and movement very difficult. Dementia doesn’t just impact individuals with the disease. It places a significant emotional burden on caregivers, as they strive to adjust to the stages and nuances of the illness.

Through the services offered by Homeland Hospice, Mike receives routine visits from a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) to help with bathing and dressing as well as medication reminders and administration. Mike also has the support of a nurse and social worker to provide a complete team of support. Recently, Mike began receiving massages to relieve pain. This is part of the complementary therapies offered by Homeland Hospice.

“Everyone genuinely cares about us,” Debra says. “I no longer spend every minute of my day consumed by worry.”

In addition to medical care and support, Mike has received cards and notes of encouragement from volunteers around the country. The cards are delivered thanks to the generous efforts or Homeland volunteers and Volunteer Match, an online program to engage individuals with volunteer opportunities.

“Mike and I look forward to receiving cards,” Debra adds. “We are very grateful for this act of love and kindness.”

The support provided by Homeland Hospice brings Debra peace of mind and allows her and Mike to live each day as fully as possible.

“I appreciate every minute Mike and I have together,” Debra says. “It is in God’s hands now.”

For more information about Homeland Hospice, call (717) 221-7890.

A Social Workers Role at End-of-Life


by Laurie Bassler, MSW, Homeland Hospice

I have an uncle who asked me “why anyone would want a social worker present when their loved one is dying?”

Typically, a social worker’s job is to assist with concrete needs, like helping to ensure a loved one is in a safe environment when they are living alone or if their caregiver can no longer support them at home.

Social workers also often help facilitate conversations with family members, especially when there is a disagreement about how to move forward with care.

Social workers assist with setting up private-duty caregivers. They help arrange service support waiver programs, which provide funding for services to help individuals who need care to live in their home. (The term “waiver” relates to the federal government “waiving” Medical Assistance/Medicaid rules for institutional care in order for states to use the same funds to provide services for people closer to home in their own communities.) They also help coordinate VA Aid and Attendance benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which includes free caregiving assistance in the home each month and financial assistance in addition to VA pension payments for qualified Veterans and survivors.

Additionally, social workers assist people with accessing Meals on Wheels, arranging powers of attorney, obtaining airfare reimbursement, or getting a grandson or granddaughter home from military service before a loved one passes. There are so many ways families can benefit from accepting a social worker as part of an end-of-life care team.

Homeland Hospice social workers even help families with financial concerns, such as eviction proceedings or making a referral to an elder care attorney if needed.

Some families simply appreciate having an impartial sounding board – someone who is not a member of the family to provide objective perspective. Families often need to share their story and their fears without judgment, and social workers are just the right people to share them with. Social workers provide a needed calming presence.

Social workers also help with actual care giving or managing challenging behaviors, and educate families on how best to understand that what they may be experiencing is normal.

Homeland Hospice social workers recognize the signs of end-of-life, which can be deeply emotional and difficult for families to observe. It is helpful for family members to have a social worker by their side who knows these signs and can explain them.

Social workers are a valuable part of an end-of-life care team and can provide support well beyond typical or concrete needs. They are a source of calm and peace during the dying process. With an understanding of the unique concerns and fears of families, they provide reassurance that helps them know that they will get through this – that they are giving their loved one a gift with their very presence.


Laurie Bassler, MSW has been a social worker for 41 years, primarily in intensive care units, emergency rooms and in oncology care settings. Laurie joined the Homeland Hospice team in 2015 and says it was the best work-related decision she ever made.

“Miracle Lady” Rita Van Meter Shares Her Memories Through Homeland’s My Life, My Legacy Program


Rita Van Meter of Lewistown was known as the “miracle lady”Rita and volunteer Kandy Melillo by staff at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital after she survived a medical episode in August of 2022. During her hospitalization, Rita suffered a heart attack and received last rites from her priest at Sacred Heart Church of Lewistown. She spent nine days in the hospital followed by one month in a nursing home. Rita turned to the services provided by Homeland Hospice, a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania, which enabled her to return home and live independently. Rita’s strength to overcome medical milestones is just one of the many chapters in the story of her life. She recently shared her life story through Homeland Hospice’s My Life, My Legacy program.

My Life, My Legacy was launched last year to help hospice patients preserve their memories and tell their life stories. Through the effort, a hospice volunteer meets personally with the patient and their family to ask a series of questions about the patient’s life. The volunteer records the responses and allows the family to add their thoughts and recollections as well as photographs. The result is a printed book for the patient to help find peace and pride in their life story. The book also helps families preserve memories after their loved one passes.

Rita worked with Kandy, a recent retiree and volunteer, over the course of several months to share her memories and work through the series of questions. The book was completed in February of 2022.

“I didn’t know what to think about the project at first,” Rita says. “After a while it was just like talking to a longtime friend.”

Rita, a mother of five children, is a vivacious, politically-active self-starter who deeply loves her family. For her, family extends to friends of her children, neighbors and anyone in need of a helping hand. Rita believes her call to help others stems from the social and political time she was born.

Rita was born in 1935 when the country was in the depths of the Great Depression. At the time, our country had an unemployment rate of 20%. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in August of 1935 which granted income for retirees and the unemployed. This Act was part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal to tackle the worst economic crisis ever experienced by our country. Rita was among the first wave of Americans to receive a social security card. With the card came a letter from President Roosevelt, which she still has today.

“I like to think this is why I am a Democrat,” Rita jokes. “Growing up in the Great Depression definitely influenced my passion for civic engagement.”

Throughout her work tenure, Rita served as a legislative assistant for Ruth Rudy, who represented Centre and Mifflin counties in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Rita loved the work because she knew the constituents and was able to help answer their questions and solve their problems.

Helping people in need of a friend is a common theme in Rita’s life. In 1989, Rita formed a nonprofit organization called Burd House, Inc., which provided a safe space for young men and women to receive help with their basic needs and education. Rita founded Burd House, which is in honor of her maiden name of Burd, by purchasing a former bakery and slowly transforming it with a kitchen, dining room, laundry service and recreational area. At any one time, up to 50 young adults could be found receiving tutoring, grabbing dinner and enjoying the company of friends at Burd House.

During its 20-plus years of operation, Rita impacted hundreds of lives through Burd House. Her small acts of kindness were miracles for many lost souls in need of a friend. Through the My Life, My Legacy program, Rita had an opportunity to relive countless happy memories of camping trips to Hidden Valley Camp Ground and special Christmas dinners with the men and women of Burd House.

Rita’s life story is special and unique, just like her. The beauty of My Life, My Legacy is that it is not a cookie-cutter approach to storytelling, rather it is a framework driven by the patient’s memories and experiences.

“Each story is distinctive based on the patient,” says Laurie Murry, Volunteer Coordinator for Homeland Hospice. “We focus on the topics that interest the patient.”

For Rita, her interests and passions are more than memories. Through her actions, Rita put in place tangible actions to change the lives of young men and women. These actions continue to ripple throughout the world today.

For more information about the My Life, My Legacy program, call Laurie Murry at (717) 221-7890.

Homeland resident Joyce Zandieh: Dedicated to justice and loving the Homeland life


Joyce Zandieh is a new resident at Homeland, Joyce Zandiehbut since moving into her personal care suite, people can see a difference.

“My friends say they can feel a change in me since I came here,” she said. “I always had to figure out who would cut my grass. Will the kids do this forever? Yesterday was the first snow in my adult life when I didn’t have to worry about who was going to shovel the snow. It’s like freedom, finally.”

Joyce brings a lifetime of activism and advocacy to Homeland. As a career nurse, she always found a way to speak up for others and help them overcome barriers.

On the day Joyce was born in Harrisburg, her father was in England, preparing to cross the English Channel with General George S. Patton’s 3rd Armored Division in the wake of D-Day. She grew up in Lemoyne before the family moved to the Mechanicsburg area.

After graduating from Cumberland Valley High School, she joined friends attending nursing school at Polyclinic Hospital in Harrisburg. In her last year, she found she enjoyed working in psychiatric care and providing care during labor and delivery. When she graduated, Joyce won an award for outstanding ability in obstetrical nursing.

“The miracle of seeing somebody being born was amazing,” she said. “I just loved it.”

Graduation launched a 45-year career in nursing, including time in her beloved labor and delivery. When she worked at Holy Spirit Hospital, she and a nurse who shared her interest in obstetrics and psychiatry co-founded the Maternal Assistance Program for pregnant women battling drug addiction.

Through the program, case managers helped women and babies get to doctors’ appointments and find whatever help they needed.

Joyce, who has a son and daughter from her first marriage, was single for 14 years after her divorce until she met Mehrdad Zandieh in 1985. A member of the Bahá’í faith, he fled his native Iran during the Iranian Revolution to escape persecution.

Making his way to the U.S., he met Joyce, a fellow Bahá’í drawn to the faith by its themes of one God, religion, and mankind. They married in 1990 and enjoyed movies, picnics, Bahá’í activities, and holy days. (For a good primer on Bahá’í, Joyce recommends

They also shared a love of Broadway shows, counting “Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Misérables” as their favorites. Joyce remembers her first Broadway experience when she was about 13. The family was driving home from a shore vacation when she and her sister urged their parents to follow signs to New York City.

“And they went!” Joyce marvels. They saw Ethel Merman in “Gypsy.” “She never used a microphone. That hooked me on Broadway shows.”

Joyce is a lifetime NAACP member who believes passionately in equality and fairness.

As a member and later chair of the Harrisburg Human Relations Commission, she and a Latino woman once separately answered the same rental ads, busting the landlords whose blatantly inequitable treatment of the two violated fair housing policies.

“I’ve always been an advocate for people,” Joyce said. “I never wanted anybody to be mistreated.”

Joyce’s ties to Homeland go back many years, knowing its sterling reputation from her mother’s time as a resident to the support from Homeland HomeHealth nurses after knee and hip replacements.

When Mehrdad, a cancer survivor, was diagnosed with a new tumor early in the COVID pandemic, Joyce cared for him at home. In his last few weeks, Homeland Hospice sent a nurse to help with the medical care and an aide to take care of Mehrdad’s personal needs.

“I felt relief because I could be the wife again,” she said.

Mehrdad died in May 2020. Joyce grieved deeply but continued living in her Harrisburg home, still doing favorite things like renting a limo to take her daughter and daughter-in-law to see Hugh Jackman in “The Music Man.”

However, looking back on the last year, Joyce realizes that she was building up towards the move to Homeland, having her house cleaned and giving family and friends her beautiful Persian rugs from Mehrdad’s native Iran.

An avid fan of Freddy Mercury and Elvis Presley, Joyce brought a Freddy Mercury doll crocheted by her daughter to her bright Homeland suite. As she settles in, Joyce looks forward to starting a new jigsaw puzzle featuring the album covers of Queen. She loves playing bingo and enjoys the musicians who entertain the residents.

“Sometimes, an older gentleman will get up and dance with some of the aides, and it’s so sweet,” she said. “I don’t have to cook. I don’t have to do housework. I don’t have to clean. I’m really happy to be here.”

Gold Star Mother, Nurse and Advocate Finds Support in Homeland’s Palliative Care Program


Dr. Suzanne Sheaffer of Harrisburg has held many titles in her life.Suzanne Sheaffer She is a Gold Star mother, nurse, volunteer and tireless advocate for victim’s rights. She is a steadfast fighter for those who need a champion, and believes every experience has a silver lining. Suzanne is marshalling her strength and faith to add cancer survivor to her list of titles. With the help of Homeland’s Palliative Care team, Suzanne has developed a path to medical treatment which puts her at the center of care.

Homeland’s Palliative Care program helps patients and their families have a better quality of life by providing comfort and relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. Homeland provides community-based palliative care anywhere an individual calls home. The team consists of board-certified nurse practitioners, a licensed medical social worker and a physician medical director.

Suzanne’s path to Homeland began more than 20 years ago when she worked as Deputy Administrator at another care facility alongside Barry Ramper, Homeland Center President and CEO. Barry was a friend and mentor to Suzanne and their time together helped shape Suzanne’s career.

“Barry believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” Suzanne says. “He is the reason I decided to advance my career.”

With Barry’s support, Suzanne earned her degree in nurse administration. She went on to become a forensic nurse and the first nurse in law enforcement for the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. Suzanne spent the remainder of her career fighting for the rights of victims through her investigations and helping families navigate the criminal justice system. For her, this was more than a career. It was a calling she wanted to follow until retirement.

Suzanne’s plans changed course on Friday, May 27, 2022 when she learned she had stage IV cancer in her lungs, lymph nodes and brain. The presence of cancer in her brain might impact her cognitive abilities. Knowing this, Suzanne did not want to risk jeopardizing future investigations and resigned from her job. This began her personal and unwavering battle to beat cancer.

Suzanne’s initial medical team and course of treatment was not supportive of her determination to fight and beat her diagnosis. She knew she needed an advocate and turned to Homeland at Home and its Palliative Care team. For Suzanne, all signs pointed to Homeland for its reputation of quality and compassionate care as well as the reputation of two key individuals, Barry Ramper and Dr. David Wenner, Assistant Medical Director for Homeland Hospice. David is a longtime friend of Suzanne’s husband Paul and has helped the couple navigate Paul’s medical care.

“David was in my corner the minute we started,” Suzanne says. “He gave me hope and listened to how I wanted to tackle my disease.”

With the support of Homeland, Suzanne began treatment at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center in New York City with routine care delivered by the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Mechanicsburg. She has completed chemotherapy treatment and radiation and is getting stronger every day.

“I am making rosary beads for Homeland patients from my home this winter,” Suzanne adds. “I look forward to volunteering in-person soon.”

Learning about her life-changing diagnosis and leaving a career she loved has been a challenge for Suzanne, but it is no match for her strong will and courage.

“Hearing the word cancer was not the worst day of my life,” Suzanne says. “Those days came years ago when I lost my children.”

In 2011, Suzanne’s daughter Sarah, who had multiple special needs, died at age 24. Less than two years later, Suzanne’s son Billy, an active Petty Officer in the United States Coast Guard Sector Boston, died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest at age 28. The profound loss of her beloved children broke Suzanne’s heart but not her will to live and give back to the world around her. She channeled her grief into volunteerism and honoring veterans who bravely served our country.

In 2016, Suzanne helped start the Wreaths Across America program at the Dauphin County Cemetery, which is also known as Potter’s Field. Through the program, wreaths are placed throughout the cemetery in mid-December to honor veterans. Many years ago, Homeland Hospice became a partner and now helps lead the annual event with Suzanne’s help.

With her unwavering faith, husband, volunteerism and plan of medical care, Suzanne is rebuilding her strength and is determined to conquer cancer.

“I know my Homeland team will move mountains to help me,” Suzanne adds. “I need Homeland to win.”

For more information on Homeland’s Hospice and Palliative Care programs, call (717) 221-7890.

Homeland Chaplain Todd Carver: Choosing a life of service and helping others


Though Todd Carver grew up watching his father serve as a pastor in Hagerstown, Maryland, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to take a similar path.

When his parents offered to pay for one year of Bible college, he took them up on their offer and attended Lancaster Bible College – and found his calling.

“The defining question of my life went from ‘What do I want to do’ to ‘God, what am I here for?’ and that is when everything changed,’’ Todd said. “I’m now 24 years living out that question.’’

Today, Todd is one of four chaplains with Homeland Hospice, an outreach program that cares for patients in the comfort of their homes or wherever they live. A former chaplain in the Army reserves, Todd also helps run Vet to Vet, a program helping Veterans who are served by Homeland Hospice, as well as residents of Homeland Center.

“I refuse to call what I do a job,’’ said Todd, who came to Homeland last fall. “To me, this is what I’m put on this earth to do.”

After graduating from Lancaster Bible College, Todd initially took a position as a full-time youth minister at Groton Heights Baptist Church in Connecticut. He then served as assistant director of the Monadnock Bible Conference in New Hampshire, a year-round non-denominational camp and retreat center for children and adults.

In his mid-30s, Todd felt the need to answer a parallel calling: serving his country, a desire harbored since his teens.

“I felt I could combine my love of country with my ministry skills,’’ he said. “I believed it was a combination that could be very effective in supporting soldiers and their families.’’

As a chaplain in the Army reserves, Todd and his family lived in Virginia, and he often spent weekends and months during the summer away from home. In 2015, he had a choice: take a promotion to captain, which would entail at least one deployment, or find a position that would give him more time with his wife, Holly-Mae, and their children, Cassie and Calvin.

“The children were entering their teenage years, and they wanted me home, so the result was saying we should do something we can together, and let’s do something where we have family,’’ he said.

His wife’s sister lived in Lancaster, and when they saw an opening for residential house parents at the Milton Hershey School, it seemed a perfect fit.

“It was something we could do together, and we are already parenting and have a good foundation for our kids, and we thought we had something we could offer to other kids,’’ Todd said. After four years, however, Todd and Holly-Mae felt it was time for a job that allowed them to focus more on their own teenagers.

Holly-Mae took a full-time position at the Hershey Medical Center, and Todd worked on getting his chaplain credentials at the hospital. Then, the director of chaplains told Todd of an opening at Homeland Hospice.

“I found the mission of helping patients and families finish well to match my education and experience in pastoral care,’’ he said. “It all merged, and I found it so easy to make connections with patients and families and remind them of their spiritual beliefs, which they can draw from as they face the greatest challenge of their life.’’

Soon after his arrival, Homeland Hospice began the Vet to Vet program as part of its work with We Honor Veterans, which offers hospices and community organizations guidance on assisting veterans. It was yet another way Todd’s background and experience allowed him to serve veterans receiving care from Homeland Hospice and those living at Homeland Center.

“I wake up every day excited to come in,’’ Todd said of his work as a Homeland Hospice chaplain. “I am on a phenomenal team of like-minded ministers who are passionate about serving patients and families in times of crisis.’’

For more information about our outreach services at Homeland at Home, call (717) 221-7890.

Palliative or Hospice Care: Which Service is Best for You?


Palliative vs Hospice

Homeland at Home strives to help patients and families make the most of their moments together. Through teams of dedicated and compassionate professionals, Homeland provides a continuum of care for changing life circumstances. Earlier this year, Homeland launched a Palliative Care program to enhance its line of services. The program works in collaboration with Homeland’s other outreach services, including Homeland Hospice. While Hospice Care and Palliative Care programs are often mistaken for one another, they are not the same.

Hospice care is for individuals with a serious illness when a medical cure is no longer possible or the decision to stop aggressive treatment has been made. Homeland Hospice helps patients and their loved ones live as fully as possible during their end-of-life journey by providing comfort and pain relief. In addition to care services, medical equipment and supplies are provided as needed to aid in a patient’s care.

Palliative care may be provided at any time during a person’s illness and is often offered to patients while they are receiving potentially life-prolonging or curative treatments. Palliative care is based on the needs of the patient, not on a specific diagnosis and does not prevent patients from receiving other healthcare services, treatments or procedures. This form of care provides relief to patients suffering from pain, stress or other symptoms due to a serious illness.

“The goal of palliative care is to reduce or eliminate symptoms such as pain, fatigue and other symptoms that may be impacting their quality of life or interfering with their ability to continue to pursue life prolonging care,” says David Wenner, Assistant Medical Director for Homeland Hospice. “This form of care often helps patients avoid unnecessary emergency room visits due to uncontrolled symptoms and other issues related to their disease.”

One similarity between hospice and palliative care is their delivery of services. Both programs are implemented anywhere a patient calls home. The convenience and comfort of receiving care at home brings comfort and peace of mind to patients and their families during a difficult time.

Homeland at Home delivers hospice and palliative services with its hallmark tradition of providing the most compassionate care possible. Central to this approach is putting the patient first. The Homeland team works with patients and their families to understand the patients’ goals and values so they can make the best care choices possible. Both programs understand each patient is different, so the Homeland team often incorporates out-of-the-box approaches to support patients’ individual needs.

Hadiza Fox has been a registered nurse practitioner at Homeland for more than six years. She provides both hospice and palliative care to patients and understands how to make sure patients’ voices are heard during their time of need.

“Each patient is unique and requires a personalized approach to care,” Hadiza adds. “The Homeland team works together, along with a patient’s other health care providers, to ensure that care is consistent, compassionate and individualized.”

The month of November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Homeland is honored and privileged to be part of the lives of patients and their families in central Pennsylvania. We are proud of our outstanding team of professionals who provide the highest quality of care every day.

For more information on Homeland’s Hospice and Palliative Care programs, call (717) 221-7890.

Homeland’s Rev. Dann Caldwell to Speak at Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg


It has been 159 years since President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. What he said that day in his two-minute speech and the sacrifices soldiers made on that hallowed ground stay with us today. Every year on November 19, a dedication ceremony and remembrance parade are held at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg to honor that moment in our nation’s history. This year’s Dedication Day will feature a closing prayer by Rev. Dann Caldwell, chaplain for Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice.

Dann has been a member of Homeland’s team for nearly 10 years. In his role, Dann provides spiritual and emotional support to patients and their families. For Dann, a life-long resident of the region, the opportunity to participate in this year’s Dedication Day is an honor.

“A friend from my church recommended me to the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania,” Dann says. “I am humbled to be part of this historic event.”

This year’s Dedication Day includes remarks from three distinguished scholars. Dr. Allen Guelzo, author of award-winning books about Civil War history will give the keynote address. Historian and writer Jon Meacham, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, will present the Gettysburg Address and provide remarks. Harold Holzer, pre-eminent Lincoln scholar, will introduce Meacham.

For his closing prayer, Dann is drawing on his deep well of faith and pride as a citizen of our nation to deliver a message of peace while honoring those who are buried at the cemetery. As the final resting place for thousands of soldiers, the site summons a variety of emotions from loss to the healing power of faith.

“The day reminds us to bear witness to the tragedy of warfare,” Dann says. “God’s desire is for peace and reconciliation for all of His children.”

Homeland’s history is rooted in the impact of the Civil War. Homeland was founded in 1867 as the “Home for the Friendless” to serve families impacted by the devastation of the war. Today, Homeland Center is a personal care home, memory care home, skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation facility. Homeland also provides hospice, home care, home health and palliative care services to serve the diverse and changing needs of families throughout central Pennsylvania.

This year’s Dedication Day is sponsored by the Gettysburg National Military Park, the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, the Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg College. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit Dedication Day Events.

For more information on Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice, call (717) 221-7890.

155th Anniversary Event an Evening Fit for a Queen


Betty Hungerford

Homeland Center celebrated its 155th anniversary this past spring at Hilton Harrisburg with an evening fit for a queen. The celebration honored Betty Hungerford, affectionally known as “Queen B,” and was an occasion for Homeland’s history books. Attended by more than 450 people, the event raised more than $1.1 million to support Homeland’s benevolent care programs, which provide assistance for individuals in need of care.

For two decades, Betty Hungerford served as the director of development for Homeland Center. Homeland is a private, nonprofit retirement community in Harrisburg. To know Betty is to know Homeland, for she is a steadfast champion of the organization. Earlier this year, Betty celebrated her 90th birthday. Betty’s birthday, coupled with her decades of service to Homeland Center, made it the perfect time to honor two cherished treasures in our region.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support for our anniversary event,” Betty said. “It is a privilege to be part of Homeland’s work. Homeland has always been more than just a job to me, it’s a primary passion in my life. It was so humbling to see others recognize and contribute to the work and services we offer. It is because of those who believe in the work we do that we can continue to serve our community with such passion and dedication. For that, I am forever grateful.”

Betty is known to local community and business leaders as one of the greatest of the Greatest Generation. She is a force of compassion, committed to improving the human condition in our region.

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something,” Betty likes to say.

Betty’s “something” has been to change the charitable giving landscape to advance the causes she is most passionate about.

For Betty, there is little separation between her personal and professional life, for she loves each fiercely and finds true joy and purpose in her work.

As our Queen B, Betty created a remarkable personal and professional life by building and maintaining strong relationships. Betty’s pride and love for her children and grandchildren is abundant as is her belief in her “adopted children,” a name Betty uses for the countless men and women who were friends of her children or neighbors. She has remained by their side as they have grown into adulthood. She is never too busy to stop and appreciate their professional achievements or milestone events in their personal lives.

Betty’s secret to success is simple – love what you do and surround yourself with people who are destined to bloom. Betty has certainly done just that, and has created a legacy that will be remembered for generations.

Homeland was founded in 1867 as the “Home for the Friendless” to serve families impacted by the devastation of the Civil War. Today, Homeland Center is a personal care home, memory care home, skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation facility. Homeland also provides hospice, home care, home health and palliative care services to serve the diverse and changing needs of families throughout central Pennsylvania.


We are grateful for the extraordinary generosity of local corporate and individual sponsors who made our 155th anniversary celebration a success.


To view event photos, visit our 155th celebration photo gallery at

8th Annual Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk


Oct. 22 | Rossmoyne Business Center

Homeland Hospice is hosting our 8th annual 5K and Memory Walk on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Rossmoyne Business Center in Mechanicsburg and we hope you will join us!

The Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk raises funds for benevolent services for hospice patients and their families. Homeland Hospice depends on the generosity of donors for its enhanced care for hospice patients such as massage therapy, music therapy, and extra in-home-relief hours for caregivers, as well as for residents at Homeland Center whose financial resources have been exhausted.

The Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk began in 2014 as a signature event to raise funds and bring awareness to Homeland Hospice services. It was initially a competitive 5K run and walk but has transitioned to include a Memory Walk that focuses on providing a space where loved ones can remember those who have passed.

“The Homeland Hospice 5K and Memory Walk is an uplifting event we look forward to every year,” said Myra Badorf, assistant director of development for Homeland Hospice. “It is for families to remember their loved ones and for us, as an organization, to remember and honor the community and people we are blessed to care for on a daily basis.”

Registration for the 5K and Memory Walk is open for runners, walkers, friends and family members of all ages. Participants may register individually or with a team, and are welcome to bring their four-legged friends. Registration is required. Participants who register will receive a t-shirt while supplies last. Online registration will close after Friday Oct. 14. Walk-up registrations will be accepted.

The 5K will take place on a relatively flat course at the Rossmoyne Business Center and will begin and end at 5000 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg. The Memory Walk will be a shorter distance along a portion of the same course.

After the 5K and Memory Walk, we will honor loved ones, provide light refreshments and award event prizes. Prizes include $100 to the 5K overall male and female champions and ribbons to the top three male and top three female finishers in eight different age brackets. Additional awards will go to the largest team, most “decked out stroller” and most adorable dog. So, start decorating your strollers and remember to bring your furry friend! Not only will you have fun, but you may just come home with an award.

Gather your friends, dust off those running shoes, and join us for our 5K and Memory Walk! It will be a fun morning of smiling faces and we can’t wait to spend it with you.