A penchant for helping

Gary and Nancy McElwain

McElwains support RLEEF so others can enjoy events

Plum Creek’s Nancy McElwain has always enjoyed doing things for others.

She’s fond of doing small kindnesses for anyone she sees having a rough time. She spent her professional life caring for others as a nursing home administrator and a social worker. And she is spending her retirement finding ways to help wherever she can.

So when she and husband Gary were presented with an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of Homewood residents both now and into the future, they decided it was well worth it.

The Hanover couple was invited to a presentation in early 2018 about RLEEF (Resident Life Enrichment Endowment Fund) - just as the fund-raising effort was getting off the ground.

“It was a lovely presentation and we thought it was a nice idea,” Nancy said.

The couple discussed the information that had been presented and decided to make a pledge to RLEEF in honor of Plum Creek’s retiring Executive Director Sandy Fair.

Fast forward to earlier this year when The Unforgettable Big Band performed on the Hanover campus - with funding from RLEEF.

“When we heard them play, we knew we made the right decision,” Nancy said.

What the McElwains like most about RLEEF is that it brings special programming directly to residents.

“Events you would have to pay for are free for residents.” Nancy said.

For example, she said they had previously attended a concert presented by the same band - and had paid the admission. When the group came to Plum Creek she was gratified that RLEEF was there to make the whole event possible.

“RLEEF is something that goes beyond what you would expect,” she said.

And going beyond what one might expect is a trait that Nancy McElwain is very familiar with.

After a career as an administrator in a long-term care facility in Harrisburg, Nancy found herself volunteering at Homewood at Plum Creek. Her experience in the industry, coupled with the fact that she still held up-to-date licenses for social work and nursing home administrator, led to an opportunity to earn a paycheck again as a social worker at Plum Creek.

So she “unretired” and worked another 15 years. By the way, she continues to do the necessary continuing education to keep her licenses current believing one should never stop learning.

“You need to keep up with what’s happening,” she said.

Almost four years ago, the couple moved to a villa on the Plum Creek campus even while Nancy continued to work part-time.

“It was my husband’s idea to move here,” she said, adding she retired a second time shortly after the move.

Nancy is one of a handful of former Homewood co-workers who have made the transition to Homewood resident.

Since settling in at Plum Creek, Nancy keeps busy serving as secretary for the Resident’s Association and as a member of the RLEEF Committee. The committee is responsible for planning events, outings and activities that RLEEF was created to fund.

And, of course, she’s always looking for ways to be kind.