The Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict in American history. After the guns fell silent, Harrisburg, like communities across the country, was left stunned by the staggering losses its families had suffered.

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Help Homeland Center Celebrate its 150th Anniversary!

Join Central Pennsylvania’s oldest healthcare facility in celebrating its 150th anniversary at Homeland Center’s Gala Celebration on Sunday, May 7, at the Hilton Harrisburg. Charles Osgood from CBS Sunday Morning will be the featured speaker.

For information and tickets, please call (717) 221-7727. All proceeds from the gala will go to the Homeland Center Benevolent Fund.

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“They are in the midst of us,’’ the local newspaper said of the households struggling to survive after losing fathers and sons, the breadwinners. “The homeless stranger and friendless, the destitute widow, the fatherless and orphan children.’’

But 18 women representing nine Harrisburg churches vowed to make a difference and establish a “Home for the Friendless’’ to save the widows and orphaned children from life on the streets.

It was an act made more remarkable by the times: In the 19th century, married women could not legally conduct the business functions required to open such a place. Undeterred, the members of what became Homeland’s first “board of lady managers” convinced seven prominent men to lend their support and serve as the board of trustees.

As Homeland Center celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, many things have changed, not the least of which is that women proudly serve as trustees as well as managers who focus on the day-to-day needs of residents. What hasn’t changed is Homeland’s commitment to meeting the unmet medical and social needs of South-Central Pennsylvania.

By the 1950s, the Home for the Friendless became Homeland Center, and with it a new mission: caring for the community’s seniors. Still located on its original Fifth Street site, Homeland offers personal and skilled care and rehabilitation services. A special unit provides a supportive environment to help those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

In keeping with its founders’ goal to meet the region’s needs, Homeland last year unveiled two new services to help seniors remain in their homes while receiving the quality care they require. Homeland HomeCare will assist seniors with daily tasks such as meal preparation and transportation, while Homeland HomeHealth will provide doctor-ordered medical assistance, ranging from providing intravenous therapy and other medications to physical therapy.

Homeland Hospice, which serves 13 counties, in 2016 became the only service in Central Pennsylvania to offer a dedicated pediatric hospice program. Also in keeping with the spirit of Homeland’s founders, no resident in financial distress has ever been asked to leave. Homeland in the past year provided more than $3 million in charitable care.

When those determined 18 “lady managers” first opened the doors, they certainly could not have foreseen all they set in motion. But everything Homeland is today harkens back to their abiding principles of providing the best quality of care in a homelike and welcoming setting.

Emphasizing Homeland’s commitment to these principles, the center received a perfect 5.0 score in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Homes 2016-17. Homeland also is one of the few in Central Pennsylvania to earn Medicare’s top Five-Star rating repeatedly and was named Best Long-Term Care Facility for the past five years in Harrisburg Magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice poll.

“We are continuing a proud tradition, founded by citizens of Harrisburg who saw a need and gathered the resources to address it,” said Barry S. Ramper II, Homeland’s president and CEO. “We are proud to carry on their legacy and to demonstrate, in our daily tasks and our outlook for the future, a history of caring.”


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