Revised; January 7, 2022

Pennsylvania Elks
Home Service Program

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elks Nurses have continued to provide essential support to the persons we serve. To create the safest possible environment for our clients and staff, they have been contacting individuals and families via phone, internet and social media. When agreed upon by both client and nurse, they can provide home visits using masks and social distancing.


Home Service Program Committee


Chair: Maureen DeStefano (Mary)

Bridgeport Lodge #714 (SE)

1818 carson Dr, Norristown, Pa. 19403

cell 484-620-2093


Vice Chair East: Mary Ann Dickerson (William)

Bloomsburg Lodge #436 (NE)

51 Valley View Rd, Danville Pa. 17821

Home: 570-271-2825

Cell: 570-393-1202


Vice Chair West: William Dold

Wilkins Lodge #577 (WC)

307 Sandy Dr, Glenshaw Pa. 15116

Home: 412-486-5185

cell 412-773-0233 


North Central: Lori McKnight

Tyrone Lodge #212

PO Box 143, Tipton Pa. 16684



North East: William J. Mack  

Frackville Lodge #1533

333 North 2nd Street, Frackville,Pa. 16323



North West: Laurie Law   

Erie Lodge #67

3027 Tree Haven Ct, Erie Pa. 16506



South East: Jerry Rhoton (Pat)

Pottstown Lodge #814

97 Seven Stars Road, Spring City, Pa. 19475



South West: Rebecca McCullough (Mark “Sam”) 

Canonsburg Lodge #846

684 Washington Road, Prosperity, Pa. 15329



Barb Gagliardi  

Monongahela Lodge #455

47 Hoon Street, Monongahela, Pa. 15063



West: Keith Olash 

Allegheny Lodge #339

15 Robertson Place #2. Pittsburg, Pa. 15223



West Central: Roni Sue Stevens (Craig) 

Wilkins Lodge #577

416 Rose Ave. Pittsburg, Pa. 15235



Mission statement:  “To support and promote the independence of individuals

with developmental disabilities, by providing advocacy services in their home environment”

Whenever you see one of the Pennsylvania Elks skilled employees in a vehicle like the one above,
you'll know that another resident in your community is receiving services
through the generosity of the members of Pennsylvania's Elks Lodges.

PA Elks Home Service Website:



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Our PA Elks Home Service Program is a participating charity in the Washington County Community Foundation’s Day of Giving. On Wednesday, September 9th from 8 am to 8 pm, any donation you make to Home Service will be increased by a percentage of a $100,000 bonus pool! This is a great way to make your donation stretch even further. 


Go to and make your donation to Pennsylvania Elks Major Projects. If you want the donation to be credited to your lodge, type in your name and lodge number under “Listing in Print and Media”. There is a minimum of $25 for donations.


If you prefer to donate by check, make the check payable to WCCF. Mail to Washington County Community Foundation – 331 South Main Street – Washington, PA 15301. IMPORTANT - in order to be counted toward our donations for that day, the check needs to be received by the foundation no later than September 9, 2015.


This a great opportunity to increase your donations to help children and adults with disabilities who live in your local area, receive the services they need to improve their quality of life.      






The Outstanding Partner in Service Award from Community Care Connections

was presented to our Home Service Program on November 7, 2013

Ricki Award - group


Pictured left to right are: Ricki Hood, Elks Home Service Nurse, Margie Wood, Special Projects Director, Pat O'Connor, Program Director,

Paul LaFayette, Chairman Major Projects Board of Directors, Pat Brennen, Executive Director, Community Care Connections

and Terry Liersaph, Home Service co-chairman, West District




The Home Service program has received two new awards in recognition of the great work the staff has been doing!  On March 25th, we were honored as a finalist at the Healthcare Heroes Award Ceremony in Harrisburg.

On March 31st, we received an Exemplary Community Partner Award at the 3rd Annual ACTION Health Awards and Community Recognition Banquet.  The nurses were recognized for contributing to the health and well being of the residents of a five county area of central PA.

Your donations to Home Service allow us to continue to do the work that is being recognized all over Pennsylvania as so important to children and adults with live with a disability every day.  Because of you, they can live more independent and fulfilling lives – THANK YOU!!!



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Pennsylvania Elks Care - Pennsylvania Elks Share!

Since 1963, the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service program has been helping to improve the quality of life for thousands of children and adults throughout Pennsylvania.  Read on to learn more about the program and how to make a referral…..

Services are provided: 

·         By a Nurse and/or Medical Case Coordinator

·         To Pennsylvania residents

·         In the person’s home environment

·         Without discrimination

·         FREE of charge

Who is eligible to receive services?

·         An individual of any age who has a developmental disability (a disability that is manifested before the age of 22)

·         A child or adult with physical or mental delays or a combination of both

·         Services can continue throughout a person’s lifetime, if needed

How are referrals made?

·         By a friend or concerned Elk

·         By a health care professional

·         By school personnel

·         By community and human service agencies

·         By a family member

***Permission must first be obtained from the individual or family

When a referral is made:

·         A visit is made to the home for an intake and initial assessment.  The needs of the family and environment are noted at this time

·         After discussing the needs with the individual or family, we help to determine the appropriate referrals for services

·         When referrals are made, we can assist with follow-up.  Home visits are then made on an as needed basis.

The program is primarily funded by donations from the 110 Elks lodges in Pennsylvania as our Major Project.



The Pennsylvania Elks State Association, an alliance of 110 Elks Lodges that proudly serve many communities in our great Commonwealth, is justifiably proud of our Elks State Major Project. This charitable undertaking is known as the "Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program." Dedicated to helping persons with developmental disabilities, it was originally called the "Pennsylvania Elks Cerebral Palsy Nurses Program." The program had its beginning in 1963 under the leadership of Past State President James Ebersberger, a member of the Latrobe Elks Lodge. The first home service visit was made to a client in Irwin, in Westmoreland County, and at that time the program only served persons with Cerebral Palsy. Today, the Pennsylvania Elks State Association employs 26 highly trained Registered Nurses and home visitors who also assist individuals with other developmental disabilities as well….spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome and hearing and visual impairments, to name just a few. This Pennsylvania Elks Program is a TOTALLY FREE service that is available in any of the 67 counties comprising the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The target population of the Elks Home Service Program is any resident of Pennsylvania who has a developmental disability. A developmental disability is defined as a severe, chronic disability of a person, which is attributable to mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairment manifested before the person attains the age of twenty-two (22). This disability is likely to continue indefinitely, and results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
Self Care
Receptive and expressive language
Self Direction
Capacity for independent living
Economic self-sufficiency

Physical things --- everyday events --- that so many of us take for granted, can be great victories for those individuals facing these challenges. Just learning how to feed themselves a single bite of food can be a satisfying accomplishment. For one of our clients to just stand up, or even simply flash a brief smile, can bring him or her a real sense of pride. We who are able-bodied are obligated morally to give our fellow human beings whatever we can to allow them to experience just one of the everyday activities we enjoy; a drink of water without spilling it; writing their own name legibly; taking a step without faltering. It isn't pity they need, just some help and understanding; the hope that one compassionate human being can give to another.

Unfortunately, as enlightened and informed as today's society is, many of us do not care about anything but our own little world. We are unaware of the challenges that many persons with developmental disabilities face. Many people "fall through the cracks" of today's social service system and have no one to help them. These are the people who benefit most from the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program.  A group of highly-dedicated Registered Nurses and staff who constantly search for new ways to help their clients become more independent and contributing members of their communities. These efforts have allowed many persons to establish a viable communication with loved ones and friends. In some cases our clients have gained employment to become contributors to the world in which they live. This is not charity, but merely a hand to people who can -- and will -- help themselves.

While you read this, the world's doctors and scientists are looking diligently for ways to prevent or cure these disabilities. However today's bureaucratic red tape usually requires a lawyer's mind when it comes to obtaining the assistance the Elks clients need to become as independent as possible. The knowledge, skill and compassion needed to do this job right are all traits the 26 Pennsylvania Elks Nurses and home visitors possess. The staff knows HOW to cut the red tape and HOW to find services that exist. They know WHERE to find educational opportunities, and they know the rights of not only the person with the disability, but also those of their family members.

The clients in the Elks Home Service Program pay NOTHING AT ALL for this in-home consultation service that is primarily financed by the 110 Pennsylvania Elks Lodges. It is now budgeted at more than one million dollars annually, and this sum includes the salary and vehicle with all expenses for each nurse. The only criterion needed to become an Elks Home Service Program client is a developmental disability; nothing else is considered --- not gender, not religion, not finances, not race or any other personal preferences. The members of the Pennsylvania Elks State Association see only a neighbor, another human being who needs support. Just as the Elks in Pennsylvania have done since 1963, we respond to this need with compassion and knowledge.

Today, our more compassionate society views many things in a different light, and more individuals with disabilities are becoming involved in the communities where they live. The Pennsylvania Elks Home Service staff have no cure, no magic waters, no cute little treatments; just a little bit of hope. They can provide a chance for independence for the people who need it most, and thus give them a chance to enjoy simple everyday life.

The Pennsylvania Elks Home Service visitor is usually called in when someone is a few dollars over the cutoff point for government help. A referral can be made when a dedicated mother finds her life dominated by a child's developmental needs, or when our fast-paced, "bottom line" society allows a person to "slip" through the cracks. It is here, at the point where other programs end, that the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program truly BEGINS. You see, our staff doesn’t  have to obey edicts made by people who enjoy good health and income, nor do we have to worry about our clients being a dollar ABOVE or BELOW a certain income. Because of this, the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service visitors are able to devote all of their energies into helping their clients. They have sat at a hospital waiting for a client who has no other family, and they have located apartments for young adults who merely want a life of their own on their own. By being totally unencumbered by the rigidity of rules made by those who have no knowledge of the problems, the Pennsylvania Elks staff has a flexibility that allows them to give the individual client maximum attention.

Beyond the obvious medical assistance, it's at that point when no one else steps forward that the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service visitor really shines. She CAN -- and she WILL stand up for the rights of a child or adult with a disability. The Elks want them to have the best education possible; to live independently; to travel and to fully enjoy ALL the privileges and rights that all citizens are entitled to. We can do this because our staff is not hampered by special interests or the will of ambitious and unscrupulous people. None of the members of the Pennsylvania Elks Major Projects Board of Directors is paid a penny, and this means that the Elks Home Service Program is one program where EVERY PENNY given is used as it was intended --- to help our clients in YOUR community!

All administrative expenses are provided for by a grant from the Elks National Foundation, therefore every dollar earned by the Elks lodges goes directly to help the children and adults we serve.  Each year of maintaining this vital program takes an increasing amount of money, all of it raised through voluntary contributions obtained through the 110 Elks Lodges in Pennsylvania. By holding countless Dinners, Dances, Bingos, Parties, Picnics, Golf Outings and a myriad of other events, the Pennsylvania Elks Lodges manage to bring in the money we need to allow our staff to devote as much time as is needed in each case they have. But we also, quite shamelessly as a matter of fact, solicit money from members and non-members alike, because what we raise is used ONLY here in Pennsylvania, and that means in EVERY community.

We don't ask a monthly stipend to help a child in a foreign land, which as a noble effort indeed, but our members are asked instead to contribute just $10.00 PER YEAR to help a child in YOUR COMMUNITY; in their community. We will accept donations from any interested individual, and they are tax-deductible under the 501c3 IRS guidelines. If you are an ELK in Pennsylvania this donation is as easy as setting aside two thin dimes, that's just 20 cents of your hard-earned money, every week for a year; and you're even allowed the customary "two week vacation." But when your year ends we'll have our needed $10.00 from you. Why not try putting your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters into a small jar every night, then use the contents of that as your --- let's not say donation --- but your way of CELEBRATING your own healthy life! It's a terrific way to not only acknowledge your own good fortune, but it WILL allow one of your Pennsylvania neighbors to live more independently --- and you'll be doing all this for only 20 cents a week!

There is no better way to remember a loved one than with a donation or bequest to the Pennsylvania Major Projects Legacy Trust Fund. The Legacy Trust Fund is a permanent fund where all donations are wisely invested, and only the dividends from these donations are used to augment the current Elks Home Service Program income; thus, the ever-expanding principal remains intact forever. This means a bequest is the most feasible way of making your donation work for others well into the future. We thank you, and we wish you GOOD HEALTH!


'Miracle babies' also 'Children of the Year'
By Michael C. Spearing

STATE COLLEGE, PA: Some people call John and Alan Kunig of Pennsylvania Furnace "miracle babies." The Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program see them as "Children of the Year."

The Elks recognized the three-year-old twins a recent press conference in District Justice Brad Lunsford's courtroom on West College Avenue.

While Jack Orlandi, Exalted Ruler of State College Lodge 1600 spoke, John and Alan and their brother and sister, Josh and Sierra, availed themselves of all useable furniture within striking distance to make toy car highways, mountains to climb and sliding boards to slide on.

Born on June 15, 1998, Alan and John are twin sons of Andrea Murray and Glenn Kunig of Pennsylvania Furnace. They were born about 14 weeks premature due to a placental condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

Orlandi said the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service visiting nurse for Centre County, Karen Kay McKalips, was the driving force behind the children's selection out of the hundreds of deserving youngsters.

"Karen lobbied for them at the state level," Orlandi said. "She told them she thought it was about time State College recognized that these disabilities exist, and when they asked her, 'Do you have anyone in mind?' she said, 'I sure do.' That's how it happened."

According to the Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation, located in Bay Village, Ohio, TTTS affects identical twins during pregnancy when blood passes disproportionately from one baby to the other through connecting blood vessels within their shared placenta.

As a result, one baby gets too much blood, overloading the cardiovascular system, and may die from heart failure. The other baby gets too little blood and may die from anemia.

The babies themselves are normal. The abnormalities are in the placenta, but numerous problems result from the condition.

"Alan was 11 inches long and weighed 1 pound 21/2 ounces when he was born," Andrea Murray said. "John was 14 inches long and weighed 2 pounds 3 ounces."

She said John was born with cardiac problems and Alan with a host of conditions. Both boys are doing well now, Murray said, and she is especially pleased that the prognosis for Alan and John remains very good, even though the cost was staggering.

"John was in the hospital for 95 days and his care cost $600,000, and Alan was in for 195 days and cost about $1.3 million," she said. "Getting all those bills was so stressful. We got stacks and stacks of them."

She said a pleasant surprise came from the doctors and hospitals.

"One day out of the blue, they (the billing office) called us and said, 'We know how hard you've tried,' and then they wrote it off."

Orlandi said Wednesday's event was in recognition of the twins and their indomitable spirit. He said he thought McKalips had it right when she wrote, "Even though they were so tiny you could hold them in your hand, they had a huge will to live. It wasn't the size of the children, but the determination in their hearts that made these little boys survive."

Reprinted with permission from the Centre Daily Times.
(The Centre Daily Times is online at