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Betty Hungerford: A Tapestry of Friendship and Professional Success

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betty hungerfordMentor. Friend. Champion. Ask those closest to Betty Hungerford, director of development for Homeland Center, and these words immediately come to mind. Whether her friends and colleagues have known her for decades or days, one thing rings true. To know Betty is to love Betty for her compassion, strength, and empathy for others. Homeland Center will pay tribute to Betty at its 155th Anniversary Celebration Event on Sunday, May 15, 2022, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Hilton Harrisburg.

Kelly Lick and her late husband Ted knew Betty and her late husband Paul socially for many years. When Ted was in his end-of-life journey, he received services from Homeland Hospice. Kelly was impressed by Homeland’s support and found comfort and peace knowing Ted received the best care possible. After Ted’s death, Betty reached out to Kelly and offered her an opportunity to volunteer. This began a close personal friendship and professional relationship which has lasted more than 10 years.

“Betty took me under her wing,” Kelly says. “She knew how it felt to lose a husband and helped me begin to move forward.”

Kelly began volunteering on fundraising efforts with Betty to benefit the residents of Homeland Center and the clients and patients receiving services through its outreach efforts. Kelly wanted to personally express her gratitude to Homeland by giving back charitably to the organization. She helped support the development of a library and the purchase of a van for Homeland’s residents.

With each meeting and event, Kelly slowly began to find her footing in the circumstances of her new life. Each step of the way, Betty was there to offer her support. As the years passed, Kelly and Betty’s friendship grew deeper in admiration and respect.

“We can all learn so much from Betty,” Kelly adds. “She is always thinking of others and how she can help ease their troubles.”

Today, Kelly is supporting Homeland’s upcoming 155th Anniversary Celebration Event honoring Betty by serving on the sponsorship committee. She is incorporating the lessons she learned through Betty into a magical event to honor her friend.

Like Kelly, Carlyn Chulick, a member of Homeland’s Board of Trustees, grew to become a close friend of Betty’s when she began volunteering for Homeland. Betty recognized Carlyn’s potential for volunteer leadership and helped her take on the role of chair for development committee.

For Carlyn, her involvement with Homeland has grown because of the organization’s culture of caring practiced by leaders like Betty as well as Homeland’s dedication to new and innovative ways of supporting families in their time of need.

Carlyn is currently helping to lead the planning efforts of Homeland’s upcoming celebration event. Throughout the planning process, Carlyn has seen firsthand many busy professionals stepping up to volunteer because of their admiration for Betty.

“Betty has impacted so many lives in our community,” Carlyn says. “Personally, I have learned the importance of building lasting relationships.”

Betty, affectionately known as the “Queen B,” has created a commendable 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. Betty has remained by their side as they have grown into adulthood. She is never too busy to stop to listen about their professional achievements or milestone events in their personal lives.

With a full social calendar, Betty still finds time to indulge in her love of sports. She loves attending baseball games at Yankee Stadium with her grandson who works for the organization. She is an avid college basketball fan – especially when Duke is playing – and tries to catch most football games.

Spend a few minutes with Betty and it’s easy to wonder how she keeps up her busy schedule, but there lies the secret to Betty’s success. Love what you do and surround yourself with people who are destined to bloom, and a bee will pollinate her world with purpose, compassion and a legacy that will be remembered for generations.

“When you think of Harrisburg, you think of Betty,” Kelly says. “People will remember her for years to come because of the extraordinary impact she has made on our community.”

For more information about Homeland’s 155th Anniversary Celebration Event honoring Betty Hungerford visit homelandanniversary.org or call (717) 221-7885. Proceeds will benefit Homeland’s benevolent care programs, which provide financial assistance for individuals in need of care.

Homeland Creates a Culture of Teamwork and Fun

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homeland staff playing cornholeOver the years, Homeland has learned that bringing together a talented group of professionals working toward a shared mission results in a successful workplace. Providing opportunities for employees to get to know each other outside of their job duties builds a team and creates a culture of compassion and friendship. The staff at Homeland strives to create an engaging culture where employees have fun through volunteering and spending time together.

In April 2021, the directors and assistant directors of Homeland Hospice, Homeland HomeCare and Homeland HomeHealth formed the FUN Committee as a way for employees to take a break from the stress and demands of their jobs, which has dramatically increased since COVID-19 hit the region. The concept was to provide staff opportunities to participate in activities on a monthly basis.

“Many staff members work entirely in the field,” Laurie Murry, volunteer coordinator for Homeland Hospice says. “These activities have given us a chance to get to know our coworkers we rarely see during the workday.”

Laurie has taken the lead in organizing and implementing the activities. The first step was to survey staff to hear what types of activities piqued their interest as well as what the activities should be named. The staff voted to give back to help others as well as connect in different geographic areas throughout Homeland’s vast footprint. As for the winning name; “Staffivities!” won the day.

homeland staff volunteering at the food bankThis summer, staff held a corn hole tournament with food trucks. Staff members who didn’t know one another were paired together to play in the tournament. Since then, Homeland staff members have volunteered at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and collected coats for children in need living in Cumberland and Perry counties through the Warm the Children program.

To celebrate the holiday season, the staff held a cookie exchange and an office door-decorating contest. The team also helped make the holidays brighter for local children by providing gifts for children in need through a program led by Silence of Mary. This has been a Homeland tradition for many years. This year, the program expanded to include all of Homeland’s outreach programs.

Most recently, Homeland staff participated in a deeply personal and heartfelt project in honor of their coworker and beloved friend Chaplain Mark Harris who passed away this fall. The staff purchased 11 wreaths through the Wreaths Across America program, which were placed at the Dauphin County Cemetery on December 17. To know Mark was to love and respect him for his deep well of compassion. Mark served Homeland Hospice as a spiritual counselor. As a former navy corpsman, Mark was involved in Homeland’s We Honor Veterans program, which recognizes the bravery and sacrifice of veterans during their time in hospice.

homeland participates in wreaths across america“Our staff members have big hearts,” Kris Crockett, RN, BSN, CHPN, and Director of of Homeland Hospice said. “Working together to give back to the community has helped us create stronger bonds as coworkers.”

Homeland Hospice, Homeland HomeCare and Homeland HomeHealth are outreach programs of Homeland Center to provide a continuum of care for patients and families in need.

For more information about Homeland at Home services, contact us at (717) 857-7400.

Homeland Participates in Wreaths Across America Day

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hanging a wreath to honor veterans

Every day, hundreds of people drive by the Dauphin County Cemetery, also known as a potter’s field, not knowing the importance of this humble site or the stories of the people buried there. A simple stone with the words “Every life has a story” marks the entrance to the cemetery. For Homeland Hospice these five words represent the dignity each life deserves. Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

The Dauphin County Cemetery serves as the final resting place for more than 800 unclaimed remains. World War II Navy Veteran Frank Bakanus, Jr., from Derry Township is buried here. He is the only known veteran who has been identified and given a veteran marker on his grave.

On December 17, Frank and all of the unidentified veterans interred at the cemetery were remembered for their service during a wreath-laying ceremony. Homeland Hospice volunteers and staff placed ceremonial wreaths and flags representing each branch of the military, soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war on the fence outlining the cemetery. Individual wreaths were placed throughout the cemetery. It has become a beloved tradition to place a special wreath on Frank’s grave marker.

homeland honors america's veterans with wreaths“Everyone buried here was someone’s son or daughter,” Laurie Murry, volunteer coordinator for Homeland Hospice says. “It’s our privilege to honor their memory and sacrifice.”

For the past several years Homeland Hospice has partnered with the Dauphin County Coroner’s Office in the National Wreaths Across America Day held in December. Through the program, wreath-laying ceremonies are held at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as more than 2,500 locations in all 50 states, at sea and abroad.

Suzanne Sheaffer with the Dauphin County Coroner’s Office serves as the coordinator for the program. She launched the Wreaths Across America Day project at the cemetery several years ago after visiting the site and noticing Frank’s grave marker. As a Gold Star mother, this project has a special place in her heart.

“I think about the sacrifice each veteran has made for our country,” Suzanne says. “On this special day, we bring something amazing to this humble site in their honor.”

The team at Homeland Hospice selected the Dauphin County Cemetery because of its similar mission and history with Homeland. One of the earliest markers at the cemetery is dated July 20, 1870. It began and remains a final resting place for individuals who have nowhere else to go.

Homeland’s story begins during the aftermath of the Civil War. Battlefield casualties were not the only human losses of that conflict, as soldiers’ wives, widows, and parents struggled to provide for dependent family members without the support of dead and disabled husbands and sons. Representatives from nine churches concluded safe shelter for women and children was needed. The “Society for the Home for the Friendless” was formally chartered in May of 1867.

grave reading 'every life has a story'As Homeland celebrates its 155th anniversary next year, the organization’s commitment to our region’s must vulnerable residents continues. Through Wreaths Across America, Homeland honors and remembers the dignity and beauty each life brings to our community.

“Homeland staff and volunteers help make the cemetery look beautiful for the holidays,” Suzanne says. “It is a pleasure to partner with the Homeland team.”

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.

Telling the Story of One’s Life: Homeland Hospice Launches My Life, My Legacy Program

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homeland helps their patients tell their storiesWe all have a story to tell filled with memories and experiences of our life. Like a good book, our story is cataloged into chapters, with recollections of our childhood, youthful dreams, careers and families of our own. These memories can fade quickly with the passage of time. To honor and preserve the story of one’s life, Homeland Hospice has launched the My Life, My Legacy program for hospice patients and their families. Homeland Hospice is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

Through the My Life, My Legacy program a hospice volunteer meets personally with the each patient and their family to ask questions about the patient’s life. Over a series of visits, the volunteer records the responses and allows the family to add their thoughts and recollections, as well as photographs. The end result is a printed book for the patient to help him/her find peace, and pride in his/her life story. The book also helps families preserve memories after their loved one dies.

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

The concept for the program originated with an existing component of a patient’s end-of-life journey. Each patient goes through an informal “life review” with a volunteer, which helps the Homeland team best serve a patient’s individual needs.

Homeland Hospice volunteers and staff believed the life review process could be enhanced to better tell a patient’s story.

“Our volunteers guided the creation of the program,” Laurie adds. “Their insight has been invaluable.”

For Carol Wambach and her family, the My Life, My Legacy program has provided insight into her father’s life, especially his childhood memories. Carol’s father, James Pagano, receives care from Homeland Hospice for Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and heart failure. While James struggles with short-term memory loss, he vividly remembers his parents, family and friends growing up in Rutherford Heights on the outskirts of Harrisburg.

In his book, James also shares fond memories of his wife of 73 years and his four children, as well as his passion for gardening.

“My siblings and I helped with the book,” Carol says. “We added some questions around topics important to our father.”

With James’ book completed, Carol has made copies for her sibling and the grandchildren in the family.

“Memories can fade over time, but we will always have this book about our father,” Carol adds. “It has brought our entire family comfort.”

When Sharon Reed’s mother was approached about the program, she eagerly accepted and looked forward to her time with Glen Dunbar, the volunteer from Homeland.

“My mother greatly enjoyed her time with Mr. Dunbar from Homeland Hospice. His questions and life legacy topics provided wonderful memories and even insightful information to us,” Sharon says.

Sharon’s mother was fortunate to have full control of her faculties up until the last few days before her death. Her vivid memory provided wonderful content for her book, which was completed and delivered the day she died.

“We displayed the book at my mother’s funeral,” Sharon adds. “It was a lovely way that day to share such special information and photos. We still turn to Mr. Dunbar’s book as a happy remembrance of my Mom.”

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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.

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

Finding Creative Methods for Channeling Grief: Meet Amy Zecha

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amy zecha with a pillow she sewedWith a stitch of a needle or stroke of a paintbrush, Amy Zecha of Harrisburg is finding creative methods for channeling her grief following the death of her mother Angelyn. With the help of Homeland Hospice’s bereavement program, Amy has found productive ways to discuss her grief and reconnect with art and crafts, which she has always loved. Homeland Hospice is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

In April, Amy connected with Homeland Hospice when her mother was in the final stages of her battle with kidney disease. As her illness progressed, Amy knew they needed the extra care and support only a hospice program could provide.

“From the beginning, the Homeland team listened to my mother’s needs,” Amy says. “Being seen and heard during this challenging time was so important to my mom.”

At the time, Angelyn was living at Bethany Village in Mechanicsburg. Homeland’s hospice services are available any place an individual calls home. The Homeland team worked with the staff at Bethany Village to provide comprehensive care for Angelyn, which brought Amy comfort during a difficult time.

Following the death of her mother, Amy began bereavement counseling with Noelle Valentine, MSW, LSW, lead bereavement counselor for Homeland Hospice. Working with a counselor who specializes in helping people deal with grief, helped Amy in ways she never imagined.

“While I was grieving the loss of my mother, I realized I had unresolved grief over the death of my brother,” Amy says. “Counseling lifted a weight off of my shoulders.”

Homeland Hospice provides bereavement support through phone calls, mailings, one-on-one consultations and support groups up to 13 months after the death of a loved one. Support groups offer self-awareness, healing, helping others, a sense of community and coping skills. Bereavement support is available to the bereaved of Homeland’s patients as well as anyone in the community who is experiencing grief.

paintings and drawings by amy zechaAs the weight of grief lifted for Amy, her creativity returned. Amy has begun painting, drawing, sewing and knitting again. Her mother taught her many of these skills and encouraged her to pursue them as a child.

“Over the past few years, I didn’t have energy to focus on my creative pursuits,” Amy adds. “I’m productive again and enjoying every minute of it.”

Amy’s creations include funny paintings and greeting cards with puns, which remind her of the wonderful sense of humor shared by both her mother and brother.

This fall, Amy became a Homeland Hospice volunteer. She is creating memory pillows for families who have lost loved ones. The pillows are frequently made of articles of clothing worn by the deceased family member. Amy’s first memory pillow was created for a woman who recently lost her husband. The pillow is made from his ties.

“Sewing meant so much to my mother,” Amy says. “I am so happy I can help others while using a skill she taught me.”

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

Homeland Hospice Staff Member Earns Advance Certification: Meet Angie Smyser

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angie smyser, homeland hospice social worker

After four years as a social worker with Homeland Hospice and nearly two decades of working in the profession, Angie Smyser has earned her certification as a licensed clinical social worker, which refers to social workers who have obtained their master’s degree in social work and completed the requirements in their state to obtain their professional license. Angie is the first person at the organization to achieve this accreditation. Homeland Hospice is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

Social workers are an integral part of Homeland’s team of support. They work with nurses, counselors, home health aides, physicians and others to provide comprehensive support to patients and their families. Social workers assess the emotional dynamics of a household and help families face their concerns during a patient’s end-of-life journey.

“Social and emotional issues come along with health issues,” says Mary Peters, MSW, assistant director of social services at Homeland Hospice. “Social workers bring these components together to best serve our patients.”

As a licensed clinical social worker, Angie can now both meet the immediate needs facing families and dive deeper into counseling to help patients and their loved ones overcomes emotional barriers to finding peace.

For Angie, helping people involves looking at the behaviors and emotions at the surface as well as what is kept private and only shared after earning one’s trust.

“We all have layers to our emotions,” Angie says, “Dealing with the imminent death of a loved one often brings out unresolved feelings and issues.”

Through her training, Angie has learned to approach issues through a clinical lens to see how she might help patients and family members deal with the root causes of issues. Finding productive solutions to problems while family members have the opportunity to communicate often lessens the burden of grief after the passing of a loved one.

To earn her license, Angie completed 150 clinical hours with an experienced licensed clinical social worker who served as a mentor. Angie participated in individual and group sessions monthly or more frequently for more than four years. This was followed by a comprehensive exam, which she passed in August.

“Homeland is fortunate to have Angie’s skill set,” Mary says. “We can now bring an additional level of support to our patients and families.”

For Angie, the driving force behind her interest in earning her certification is her eagerness to help families when they need it most.

“Sometimes people just want to be heard,” Angie says. “I’m honored to help families in their time of need.”

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

 

Donald McClarren: The Hero Next Door

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United States Air Force and Navy veteran Donald McClarrenBravery and honor are words reserved for the select few who have risked their lives in service of our country. For United States Air Force and Navy veteran Donald McClarren of Boiling Springs these are the words he lived by during his time as a Prisoner of War in North Korea. A humble and soft-spoken man, Donald may dismiss the word hero to describe him, but he is all of this and more to those who know and served with him.

Homeland Hospice recently recognized Donald with a special pin and certificate through the 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 is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania. Homeland Chaplain John Good leads the program. (John was previously joined in leading the program by Chaplain Mark P. Harris, M.A., M.Div., Spiritual Counselor at Homeland Hospice and a former hospital corpsman, who passed away in 2021.)

As a young man growing up in Johnstown, Donald wanted to do his part to serve our country. He joined the Air Force in 1954 where he was trained in cryptography and worked as a communications technician for 10 years. After completing his time with the Air Force, Donald wanted to return to service as tensions between the United States and Korea and Vietnam were heating up.

“At the time, the Air Force didn’t have openings in my field,” Donald says. “I walked across the building to the Naval recruiting office and joined that day.”

Donald continued deciphering encrypted messages with the Navy, spending time around the world. His life and the history of our country were forever changed on January 23, 1968 when his ship, the USS Pueblo, was attacked and captured in the Sea of Japan by the North Korean military.

The Pueblo was on a peaceful mission to monitor, record and analyze wireless communications. On board were 83 servicemen, primarily trained as communications technicians. When the ship came under attack by North Korean PT boats, submarine chasers and an aircraft, the Pueblo did not fire back as its one .50-caliber machine gun was under deck. Trying to place the gun in firing position would put the men in peril. One crew member died while destroying classified materials. The others were taken prisoners.

From January to December of 1968, Donald and his fellow crew mates were routinely interrogated and tortured. At the time, the United States Department of Defense did not recognize the members of the Pueblo as Prisoners of War.

“Every day I thought about my father and how he was coping,” Donald says. “I worried my captivity would kill him.”

At one point in his imprisonment, the Pueblo crew was shown a propaganda piece of a North Korean sports team competing in England. Part of the news story included footage of everyday life in England. In one frame, an English businessman looked into the camera and raised his middle finger in protest.

“Our guards asked us what this meant,” Donald says with a smile. “We said it was a Hawaiian good luck sign.”

Days later, the guards took photos of the crew to send back to their families to assure them the servicemen were healthy and well-cared for under the North Korean’s watch. In every photo, crewmembers discreetly displayed the “Hawaiian good luck sign” in silent protest.

As the photos made their way to friends and family stateside they were printed in a small town newspaper. Eventually the story and photos were picked up by Time International, which made its way into the hands of the North Korean military, including the guards of the Pueblo’s crew.

“We had the worst week of our lives after the guards read the magazine,” Donald adds. “Somehow we made it.”

Not long after the Time International story ran, the interrogations and beatings stopped, and the soldiers learned they were going home. Donald and his crewmates were taken to the 38th parallel, a popular name given to latitude 38 degrees north, which is the demarcation line between North and South Korea.

“I didn’t believe it was true until I crossed the line into South Korea,” Donald says. “I was finally free.”

While the crew of the Pueblo was free, part of their story and the destiny of their beloved ship remained entwined with North Korea. Donald went on to finish his naval career, retiring as a recruiter while stationed in Montana. The ship’s skipper Commander Lloyd Bucher nearly faced a court-martial trial based on his decision not to secure the machine gun under deck and retaliate. The Navy eventually dropped the proceedings citing the mental toil the crew had already endured.

“Commander Bucher had the support of the entire crew,” Donald says. “He was a good man who put our safety first.”

As for the USS Pueblo, it is still held by North Korea today. Pueblo is the only ship in the U.S. Navy still on the commissioned roster that is held captive.

Twenty-two years after Donald and his fellow crew mates were taken captive; they were finally recognized as Prisoners of War. Donald received the Prisoner of War Medal and Combat Action Ribbon for his valor in service to our country.

 

Pattie Craumer Published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Series

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pattie craumer holding chicken soup for the soul - eldercareThe words were in her heart and head. They were formed over a 24-month journey of caring for her father before his death and grieving his loss after his passing. Pattie Craumer of Mechanicsburg gave her words life in a short story published in June in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Navigating Eldercare & Dementia: 101 Stories for Family Caregivers. Her piece, “Behind the Things” tells the story of parting with material possessions and the memories they hold after the death of her father.

Pattie grew up in Camp Hill and moved to the western part of the country to raise her family. She moved back to the area seven years ago to be closer to her father, Bob. In the spring of 2019, Bob broke his neck during a fall. Over the following months, Bob spent time in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation homes before moving to Homeland Center. In his final days, he received services from Homeland Hospice.

“I wasn’t able to be with my mother at the end of her life,” Pattie says. “I wanted to spend each day possible with my father.”

During Bob’s final days, he received spiritual counseling and music therapy from a harpist. These services provided Bob and his family great peace during a difficult time.

“Homeland Hospice was essential to his end-of-life care,” Pattie adds. “I wish I would have understood the scope of Homeland’s services earlier. We certainly would have used them.”

Following her father’s passing, Pattie connected with Noelle Valentine, MSW, LSW, lead bereavement counselor for Homeland Hospice for bereavement support. Pattie and Noelle met a few times in person before the announcement of stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the following months, Pattie and Noelle continued their counseling sessions over the phone.

“Noelle immediately understood what I was going through,” Pattie says. “Our year-long time together was transformational for me.”

Homeland’s bereavement programs are available to the bereaved of Homeland’s patients as well as anyone in the community who is experiencing grief. Bereavement support group meetings also are held on a rotating schedule throughout the year.

As Pattie and her siblings began cleaning out their parents’ home, she was overcome by the stories behind each possession. Pattie experienced the dismantling of her parents’ lives as two unforgettable lives unfolding again, but backwards. She decided to save a few key pieces of furniture with the hope of breathing new life into them in the future.

Pattie salvaged a high chair used by her parents’ four grandchildren. After cleaning it up, she found a buyer on Facebook Marketplace who needed a second highchair to accommodate visits from her grandchildren.

“Knowing another family can make happy memories with this piece brought me so much joy,” Pattie says. “In a small way, the story of my parents continues.”

This culmination of losing her father, bereavement counseling and finding new purpose for her parents’ belongings inspired Pattie to submit her story for publication. While Pattie has never called herself a writer, her mother, Natalie, always aspired to write. In many ways, Pattie’s piece was a tribute to her mother’s dream as much as an outlet to share her journey.

“Something meaningful came out of a painful experience,” Pattie adds. “I hope my story can bring comfort to others.”

Homeland Hospice is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania. To learn more about Homeland Hospice’s bereavement support, please contact Noelle Valentine at Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.

Chaplain Dann Caldwell Appointed Board President of Christian Churches United of the Tri-County Area

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Homeland Chaplain Dann CaldwellIt has been said that life comes full circle. For Dann Caldwell, chaplain for Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice, the loop he began as an intern with Christian Churches United of the Tri-County Area (CCU) has closed with his recent appointment to serve as president of the organization’s board of directors.

During a yearlong sabbatical from Princeton Seminary, Dann worked as an intern at CCU, which is a partnership of more 100 Christian congregations in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties. CCU provides housing assistance for our most vulnerable neighbors in need. Now, as board president, Dann is helping to lead CCU during one of the most difficult times in housing in recent years.

“Our greatest challenge is helping our community respond to the impact of COVID-19,” remarks Darrel Reinford, executive director for CCU. “We are working diligently to avoid a spike in homelessness.”

CCU’s spectrum of services includes helping individuals and families with rental assistance to prevent eviction; managing most of the emergency shelters in Dauphin County; helping families find permanent housing; operating overnight shelters during the winter months; managing Susquehanna Harbor Safe Haven, a long-term residential facility for chronically homeless men with a mental health diagnosis; and spiritual outreach efforts throughout the region.

“It is a privilege and honor to serve as the President of CCU,” Dann says. “I am blessed to serve the often forgotten members of our community.”

Dann’s commitment to the service of others is rooted in his role with Homeland. For more than eight years, Dann has served as a chaplain for patients and their families receiving services through Homeland Hospic as well as ministering to the residents of Homeland Center.

The team at Homeland considers not only the patient’s physical well-being, but mental and spiritual aspects, as well. Chaplains help patients and family members deal with spiritual issues, answer questions and find meaning and hope. They provide continued support to ensure no one ever feels alone.

“I’m humbled to share my faith with the residents and patients of Homeland,” Dann says. “It’s a pleasure to connect my spirituality through my work and volunteer efforts.”

Homeland Center is a private, not for profit, continuing care retirement community providing skilled nursing, personal care, Alzheimer’s/dementia and short-term rehabilitation services.

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 about Homeland Center, please contact (717) 221-7900. For information about Homeland Hospice, call (717) 221-7890.

 

The Remarkable Life of Anna Weinfurter, WWII Veteran

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Former Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Anna WeinfurterA remarkable life is not given. It is earned through service above oneself and demonstrations of courage and compassion in extraordinary times. Anna Weinfurter’s journey began in Montana and took her across the country while serving in the United States Navy during World War II. While her uniform has been retired for decades, she continues to embody valor, honor and kindness.

Former Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Anna Weinfurter is an example of a remarkable life earned by rising to life’s challenges with bravery and faith.

Homeland Hospice recently recognized Anna, age 98 of Carlisle, with a special pin and certificate through the 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 is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

In addition, Chaplain Mark P. Harris, M.A., M.Div., Spiritual Counselor at Homeland Hospice and a former hospital corpsman, presented Anna with an authentic rank badge from her time in the Navy.

“I haven’t seen or touched a badge like this in so long,” Anna says with tears in her eyes. “I’m so happy to hold this again.”

As the daughter of homesteaders in Montana, Anna grew up surrounded by animals and acres of farmland. She was one of nine children in a close-knit family. After high school, Anna became a teacher. Her life, and the history of our country, changed when the United States entered WWII in 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

“I was 20 when I entered the Navy,” Anna says. “My eldest brother chose the Navy and I was determined to follow in his footsteps.”

Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Anna WeinfurterAnna left the family farm for the first time in her life to report for duty in Seattle, Washington in the spring of 1942. She was assigned to Hunter’s College in New York City to complete basic training. Anna and her fellow soldiers traveled by “troop train” from Seattle to New York. A troop train solely transported military personnel. At the time, soldiers were segregated by rank and gender. During the day, Anna completed physical exercises, which included running alongside the train. At night, the train continued its journey to New York while the soldiers slept.

While at Hunter’s College, Anna had a chance encounter with her eldest brother, whose ship was docked in New York City for the weekend. Anna’s brother spotted her in a parade held to promote United States savings bonds. That weekend, Anna and her brother were guests of a local family who prepared an authentic Italian dinner. For Anna, this was her first experience eating food that didn’t come from her family’s farm.

“I was so surprised to see my brother and overwhelmed by the hospitality,” Anna says. “It was an unforgettable night.”

Following basic training, Anna once again traveled by train to Long Beach, California where she received pharmacist training, which is part of the scope of work of a hospital corpsman. As caregivers for both the Navy and Marines, hospital corpsmen treat the injuries and illnesses of soldiers in a variety of capacities and locations.

“I was one of only 13 women in the training course,” Anna recounts. “I knew how to type and had the experience of teaching which helped me advance.”

Anna next reported to Treasure Island California Naval Base in San Francisco Bay (closed in 1997), where she served for the next four years. During WWII, Treasure Island was used as a center for receiving, training, and dispatching service personnel serving in the South Pacific.

Anna was assigned to work with a high profile commander of the hospital at Treasure Island. Following the Bataan Death March in April 1942, surviving soldiers of the atrocity were sent to the hospital for immediate care before they were transferred to other bases for rehabilitation and recovery. Anna’s commander insisted on meeting each solider. Anna worked by his side as they collectively greeted each soldier and bared witness to this tragic moment in our nation’s history.

As the war progressed, Anna’s work, and that of the Navy base, remained focused on the fighting in the South Pacific. Unlike modern-day communication platforms, which provide instant access to news across the globe, Anna knew little about the war efforts in Europe.

When the news broke about the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Anna and her fellow soldiers were overwhelmed with pride and happiness.

“We tossed our white caps into the air,” Anna remembers. “Throughout San Francisco everyone was celebrating. We couldn’t believe we did it.”

When WWII ended in September of 1945 Anna was in New York City. She was filled with relief and pure joy to see an end to the devastation. For Anna’s parents, the end of the war meant Anna and five of her six brothers would no longer be in harm’s way.

While her time as a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class came to an end, Anna’s service to our country as a military spouse continued. While at Treasure Island, Anna met and married Joe Barnett, a hospital corpsman from Alabama. Anna and Joe had one son Curtis Barnett, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, a beloved veterinarian who worked in Cumberland County until his death in 2017. Following Joe’s passing, Anna remarried. Her second husband, who also served in the military, has since passed away.

In July, Anna will celebrate her 99th birthday. Last year, during the closures of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anna’s community recognized her special day with a parade of cars passing her home. This year, Anna hopes to see her friends and neighbors in person. At nearly 99, Anna greets each day with gratitude and happiness.

“I’m honored I could serve my country,” Anna adds. “My life has been filled with blessings.”