HomePorts Announces New Board Members

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HomePorts, Inc., the local non-profit aging-in-place organization, has announced Board members and officers for 2014. Cindy Bach, Wayne Benjamin, Jayne Heckles, and Courtney Sjostrom have been newly elected to the Board of Directors.

New HomePorts Board members l-r: Jayne Heckles, Wayne Benjamin, and Courtney Sjostrom. Also elected: Cindy Bach

New HomePorts Board members l-r: Jayne Heckles, Wayne Benjamin, and Courtney Sjostrom. Also elected: Cindy Bach

Cindy Bach is an occupational therapist, and has worked in hospital, rehabilitation, outpatient, skilled nursing, and home-based settings providing direct care and managing programs for over 30 years. She is currently the Executive Director of Chester River Home Care and Hospice where she has worked for the past 13 years. “I see this effort as part of a network of services that connect medical programs, government health agencies, and volunteers to provide the services needed to optimize health and independence of individuals wanting to stay in their own homes and the community,” Bach said.

Originally from Riverhead, NY, Wayne Benjamin completed medical training in Family Medicine at the Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY. For the past 40 years, he has been a family physician in Chestertown. “As the current President of the Chester River Medical Staff, I am focused on improving the quality of care to our local community and increasing the services provided by our medical staff,” he noted.

Jayne Heckles moved to Chestertown in 2011. Professionally she has worked as a Physician’s Assistant and has held many leadership positions in church groups, clubs and volunteer organizations. Before retiring, she worked in the office of a New Jersey symphony.

Courtney Sjostrom of Worton moved to Kent County in 2001. She has worked in training service representatives in the Bell System, as well as in real estate and social work. She directed a nursery school in Wyncote, PA for 20 years and has held positions in the Presbyterian Church as a deacon and elder. In addition, she has worked locally for Shared Opportunity Services.

Jim Donaghy of Rock Hall is in his second year as President, Ann Murray of Chestertown is the Vice-President, Ray Long of Galena is the Treasurer, and Jayne Heckles is the Secretary. Other Board members are Scott Burleson, John Christie, Muriel Cole, Herb Friedman, Sandra Willett Jackson, and John R. Leek.

HomePorts  is a membership organization Helping older adults continue living safely and comfortably in their own homes. Set up by and for local residents, HomePorts is incorporated as a Maryland nonprofit.

Those eligible for membership include anyone over 55 living in the greater Kent County area. HomePorts is modeled after similar organizations operating successfully in other regions of the country. Founding members spent two years studying other such “villages”, which are springing up rapidly in many communities and are cited by experts as the wave of the future. The first one in Boston, known as Beacon Hill Village, has been in operation for over ten years. There are now ten in Maryland.

HomePorts resources include a cadre of vetted volunteers and referrals to reliable service providers in the fields of transportation; interior and exterior home and yard maintenance; grocery & household services; and personal assistance & trouble shooting.  Additionally, HomePorts encourages participation in social, educational, and cultural activities.

HomePorts partners with Upper Shore Aging and the Shore Regional Health System. It offers financial assistance to those with limited incomes.

“The organization definitely fills a need in this community. We are now in our sixth year and have over 100 members. As we have matured, we have learned what members want and need. Many do not yet need help but join in order to support this concept, and when they do have a question or want help, they can just pick up the phone or send a quick note to me,” said Karen Wright, Executive Director. “Our Volunteer Coordinator, Shannon Smulow, or I have a policy of responding very quickly,” she added.

Information is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling 443-480-0940 or go to www.homeports.org. The e-mail address is info@homeports.org.

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