Sweet Charity Vol 115 Issues 3

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Rylee's Story: Pediatric Rehabilitation Helps NICU Graduate Transition Home


Innovation has been a hallmark of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network since its beginning. Ever since the Raker Family sought to address an unmet community need, Good Shepherd has held true to its vision of transforming lives through expertise, innovation and compassion.

As a native of Easton, Pennsylvania, I have always known about the work of Good Shepherd—it is a Lehigh Valley institution. And since joining the organization last spring, I have gained an even deeper appreciation for the impact Good Shepherd has on the lives of our patients and residents and their families and the steadfast focus of our clinicians on maximizing outcomes for those in our care.

Throughout its rich history, philanthropy has been at the heart of Good Shepherd’s work. I am grateful for your loyal support and honored to join you in giving back to this vital organization. As we write our next chapter with the construction of the new hospital in Center Valley and embrace the leading edge of assistive technology and other innovative tools, we will continue to count on your support.

I have had the privilege of talking with many of Good Shepherd’s supporters, and I have been truly inspired by your generosity. I would love to hear from you about why you give and how we can work together moving forward. Please feel free to contact me at Gpugliese@gsrh.org or 610-776-3557.

I’m excited about the future of Good Shepherd, and I look forward to working with you to continue our tradition of enhancing lives and inspiring hope.



Rylee's Story

Pediatric Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Helps NICU Graduate Transition Home

A Shift in Long-Term Care Leadership

Meet Good Shepherd's new long-term care leaders.

8 Outpatient Location Profile

9 Reflections By Chaplain Kelly Brooks

10 Susan Lopez Joins Good Shepherd

11 Planned Giving: Lona Farr

12 In Memoriam Adam Ginnetti Edward Donald Miller

14 Disability Awareness Day at the Lehigh Valley Zoo

On the cover: Katie, Ryan, Addison and Rylee Gerrity

Cover photograph: Randy Monceaux Photography

Our Mission

Motivated by the divine Good Shepherd, and the often complex physical and cognitive rehabilitation needs of our communities, our mission is to enhance lives, maximize function, inspire hope, and promote dignity and well-being with expertise, innovative care and compassion.

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The future of long-term care at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network is in good hands.

We’re excited to welcome Carrie Kane, MS, CCC-SLP/L, NHA, into her new role as administrator of Good Shepherd Home – Raker Center, Buffy Bower, NHA, RN, LPN, as administrator of Good Shepherd Home – Bethlehem and Chris Fistner, BS, NHA, PCHA, as vice president of operations – hospital administrator for Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital.

Through their previous roles as administrators of Bethlehem and Raker Center, Carrie and Chris aligned our two long-term care facilities with their leadership and maintain strong records of success at Good Shepherd, including consistent five-star ratings and deficiency-free focused surveys.

“Going back to Raker is going back home for me,” says Carrie, who spent 19 years there as a speech-language pathologist before transitioning to Bethlehem. Carrie attributes her first role at Raker to helping prepare her to support and guide her staff as a leader.

“If staff are well supported, they're happier, which means resident care is better,” says Carrie.

Buffy, who has has more than 30 years of experience in nursing home administration and nursing leadership, quality, education and compliance, joins Good Shepherd as Bethlehem administrator. Before arriving at Good Shepherd, Buffy worked as the network director of skilled nursing at St. Luke’s University Health. Before St. Luke’s, she spent more than 30 years at Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries.

“I was looking for a place that felt like home. As I met the residents and team members, that is the feeling I had. They are happy. It is most important to me that everyone is safe and that the residents receive the best quality of care.”
- Buffy Bower, NHA, RN, LPN

As the network’s new vice president of operations for the Rehabilitation Hospital, Chris acknowledges it’s unconventional for a leader of a health-care organization not to have a clinical background. However, this kind of change is necessary—and welcomed—in an industry seeing so much change in the past few years.

“An outside set of eyes can help challenge the status quo,” says Chris. “That’s what I hope to do.”

Chris started his career at Good Shepherd in 2018 as an admission liaison at Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital before eventually being named Raker administrator. In his new role, he plans and directs all Rehabilitation Hospital operations in Allentown and will facilitate our successful transition to the new rehabilitation hospital in Center Valley.

“I’m so appreciative to be part of an organization that’s going through such a seismic shift where we are permitted to 'Re-Think' the way we’ve done things,” says Chris.


The future will bring new approaches to therapy and more technology, but it will never reduce the need for 24/7 long-term care. Those who need a high level of physical care require a strong work force.

Helping residents be autonomous has always been a top priority at Good Shepherd. There are ways technology—like telehealth—can be used not to replace, but enhance the care provided by our staff.

“There may be advances in technology that are neat, but the human touch will always be needed,” says Carrie.

We wish Carrie, Chris and Buffy all the best in their new roles! n

“The bottom line—the most important thing—is that the residents are cared for at the highest possible level.”
- Carrie Kane, MS, CCC-SLP/L, NHA
“I’ve had the great pleasure of working alongside some of the brightest and most caring people, and they’ve taught me a great deal of what it takes to work in the business of people.”
– Chris Fistner, BS, NHA, PCHA

Rylee's Story

Katie and Ryan Gerrity anxiously awaited the arrival of their twin daughters in early 2022. When Katie reached 32 weeks gestation, the Gerritys learned that one of the girls had restricted growth and needed immediate medical care. On 2-22-22, Addison and her sister Rylee were welcomed into the world.

Rylee, who weighed three pounds less than her twin, was quickly transported to the NICU to receive care for breathing issues and kidney concerns. For the next 114 days, she remained in the NICU, healing, growing and ultimately undergoing a tracheotomy surgery to help her breathe.

After graduating from the NICU, Rylee was transferred to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Emily Howatt Pliskatt Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem to receive specialized rehabilitation services under the guidance of Dr. Kuchinski, Medical Director, Pediatric Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Here, Rylee received one hour each of physical, occupational and speech therapy six days a week. As a result, she continued to thrive. Her parents felt overjoyed at their daughter’s progress, which Katie greatly attributes to the incredible care Rylee received from her team.


Katie formed an especially strong bond with Chris, one of Rylee’s respiratory therapists. From the first day they met, Chris treated Rylee like she was her own child—and provided Katie and Ryan with vital education and training that they would need when Rylee came home.

At almost seven months old, Rylee was finally discharged from Good Shepherd. To ensure her continued progress, she went home with a full care plan, follow-up appointments and in-home nursing already set up.

Katie and Ryan are in awe of Rylee’s strength and resiliency. They also are immensely grateful for the members of her dedicated care team that went from strangers, to trusted friends, to family in just 83 days. Katie and Ryan remain in close contact with members of Rylee’s team, especially Chris. Today, Rylee continues to grow, thrive and meet milestones thanks to the outpatient therapy she receives five days each week at the Hyland Center for Health & Technology in Allentown. Her parents now realize their chosen career paths as a teacher and first responder prepared them perfectly for being parents to Rylee and Addison. n

“Within a week of Rylee being at Good Shepherd, I was able to take a breath for the first time since she was born. The staff was so friendly, and the environment felt more like home than a hospital. I knew Rylee was safe and in the best hands at Good Shepherd.”


Good Shepherd CedarPointe is more than outpatient therapy. It’s a community.

Good Shepherd CedarPointe has been the hub for adult and pediatric rehabilitation in our region. Located in the West End of Allentown in the Roma Corporate Center, the site contains a large clinical space with separate treatment areas for adult and pediatric care. Currently completing more than 2,400 pediatric and adult visits each month, CedarPointe offers programs in physical, occupational and speech therapies. Our experienced clinical team provides compassionate care and clinical excellence to all those served. Our large gym and pool


• Therapy for neurological disorders and orthopedic conditions

• Work conditioning

• Vestibular rehabilitation

• Cognitive therapy, including interactive metronome

allow us to offer additional programs focusing on wellness, such as accessible yoga and aquatic and gym fitness memberships.

“Patients love coming in and seeing their friends while they exercise,” says Speech Language Pathologist and site manager, Mary Jean Stankoski, who has worked at Good Shepherd for 33 years. Patients attest to the life changing value and social support found here. “We feel so fortunate to be able to offer these unique programs to the community,” says Mary Jean. n

Special programming for patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder such as:

• Relationship-based therapy

• Social opportunities

• Augmentive communication

• Sensory integration

• Autism and the Arts Program

LOCATION: 1651 North Cedar Crest Blvd, Suite 100, Allentown, PA 18104 (across from Target)

Where Can I See

Sweet Charity’s Gifts of Love section is now virtual!

Use the URL to see the generous families and friends who honor their dear ones with memorial and living gifts. These gifts help support Good Shepherd’s mission of service to people with disabilities, many who otherwise could not afford the therapies or long-term care they need.




It is amazing how music brings back memories to our hearts and minds. Music conjures up sweet thoughts of loved ones, grief over losses and laughter from high school days. The thoughts bring us back to times in our lives that seemed so much sweeter and kinder. It is a gift to have those moments. The tunes are a constant in our lives that soothe the soul.

What is the soundtrack of your life?

Probably a song that a loved one sang to you as a child or one from your adventurous youth that reflects the time in society. Or, one from your 20s that denotes adulthood. There are songs of loves gained and loves lost. There are songs of different eras: patriotic songs, big band music, jazz, classic rock, pop and country. These songs and melodies typically bring a smile to our faces and lift our mood. Not only should we listen to them when we are feeling sentimental, but also when we are having difficult times.

Faith is much like the soundtrack to our lives. Many times, our first exposure to faith was even before we could talk. We remember sitting in the pews as a child while our parents try to keep us occupied and quiet. We can still sing the old hymns we used to sing on a Sunday morning. As a teen, we begin to learn more about who we are as a person and how our faith fits into our lives. As an adult, journeying though life, it is a constant that grounds us. As we grow older, our faith matches our wisdom and experience. Faith, whether it becomes a part of our soundtrack early in life or gained as an adult, is an unceasing reminder of comfort and peace. The melodies come from hymns, our book of faith, prayer and meditation. They play in our hearts as a guide through new experiences and endeavors.

Somehow, faith overlaps with music to form a sweet sound and layers of words that can take us wherever we need to go. n

Susan Lopez Joins

Good Shepherd as Sr. Major Planned Giving Officer

When Susan Lopez joined the Development team at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in June 2022, she brought with her a wealth of knowledge from her professional experiences within non-profit organizations. Susan has held several key positions throughout the course of her 14-year career, and each position has allowed her to focus on building and maintaining relationships with individuals, families and businesses who have a heart for supporting an organization's mission.

In her previous role as a member of the Planned Giving Department at Lehigh University, Susan saw firsthand the extraordinary impact that planned gifts can make for future generations, and how vital they are to the overall mission of a non-profit organization.

At Good Shepherd, Susan and the Development team work closely with donors and their advisors as they create their estate plans. These estate plans ensure the security of their loved ones and help to support the future success of organizations that mean the most to them.

There are many types of planned giving vehicles available. Benefits of planned giving vehicles may include tax benefits, including federal income tax charitable deductions when you itemize and/or regular income payments for life. Additionally, planned gifts can be funded through donations of cash, appreciated securities, closely held stock and even tangible personal property.

Welcome to Good Shepherd, Susan! n

For more information on finding a charitable plan that will support your loved ones and Good Shepherd, please contact Susan Lopez, Sr. Major Planned Giving Officer, at 610-776-3386 or by email at Sulopez@gsrh.org


A Gift That Keeps Giving

Since 1981, Lona Farr and her husband, David Voellinger, have faithfully supported Good Shepherd, a cause dear to their hearts. The couple recently decided to expand their impact by creating the Lona M. Farr, PhD and David Vincent Voellinger, MA, Therapy Fund to support continuing education for rehabilitation therapists. Lona and David signed a bequest to establish this fund and plan to direct their annual support of Good Shepherd to this fund each year forward.

Lona first learned of Good Shepherd as a student at Muhlenberg College when one of her classmates lived at the Good Shepherd Home. Lona joined the staff and spent more than a decade there in a leadership position.

In 1992, Lona experienced Good Shepherd from a patient’s perspective when she was seriously injured from a fall and needed intense therapy to recover and re-learn how to walk. Lona says this incident reinforced her love and admiration for Good Shepherd and its staff.

“I had been telling people about the good work [Good Shepherd was] doing, and this was an opportunity for me to experience it firsthand—and it was all true!” says Lona. Her appreciation for Good Shepherd grew stronger after another round of therapy beginning in 2016. During sessions, she learned from her therapists that continuing education courses had helped expand their knowledge and experience.

“In my therapy, they’ve applied things they learned in their continued education courses, which I believe have both relieved my pain and helped me live with it,” she says. “Continuing education gives Good Shepherd staff the skills needed to help me and others. That’s what’s it’s all about—helping people live active and dignified lives.”

A similar philanthropic gift for nursing scholarships sparked Lona’s idea to show gratitude for the excellent therapy she is receiving. After reading about endowments in Sweet Charity, David and Lona knew this was how they wanted to give back. Good Shepherd will decide who receives the scholarship.

Two years ago, Lona could not walk. Today, she walks and even dances with her regained sense of mobility. Experiencing two rounds of life-changing therapy has made Lona extremely grateful to Good Shepherd, and she is confident in making Good Shepherd part of her giving plans.

As Lona says, “A planned gift is a gift that keeps giving—even when you are no longer able to make an annual gift, a planned gift allows you to keep giving in perpetuity." n


In Memoriam

Adam Ginnetti

Joe and Ida Ginnetti remember their son, Adam, not for his struggles, but for his successes and loving spirit. One memory in particular stands out.

Adam was a sweet 4-year-old the couple had just adopted from Busan, South Korea. He would be Joe’s and Ida’s third adopted child. On the way from the airport to their North Haven, Connecticut home, Adam was given a bag of snacks. Before he helped himself, Adam first offered his snack to his new brother and sister, Justin and Sasha.

“I think that story perfectly captures Adam,” says Joe. “He was extremely generous and empathetic toward other people.”

Born on Thanksgiving, November 26, 1981, Adam was a foundling. There were no records of his background, but Joe and Ida didn’t need any. The Ginnettis were of one mind and heart that their home was ready for another child, and Adam was it. “We just saw this lovely beautiful little boy and fell in love. We were thrilled,” says Ida. “He spoke no English and we spoke no Korean, but he assimilated right into the family. It was destiny, some would say.”

Since childhood, Adam was gifted with incredible athletic ability. He excelled in baseball, golf and swimming. He also loved to cook (and eat), and adored animals. But his life was fraught with depression, drug addiction, the loss of an infant child with a woman he loved and then a diving accident in 2015 that left him a quadriplegic. Through it all, Adam’s kind and generous nature was always there. “We never lost faith in him, even in the darkest moments,” says Ida. “He had many successes. He was very talented.”

Adam spent months in rehabilitation and then a nursing home before his parents found Good Shepherd. He was 40 years old when he passed away on August 15, 2022, at the Good Shepherd Home - Raker Center in Allentown, where he lived since 2019. Adam’s goal was to live as independently as possible, and he knew Good Shepherd would help him achieve that. “There was something special about Good Shepherd,” says Joe. “He had some good friends and many people who cared about him. It was the right place for him to be, like a hand in glove fit.”


Donald Edward Miller III

Donald Edward Miller III may have left this world relying on his wheelchair for mobility, but with the soul of a poet, the strength of an athlete and passion for the outdoors, Ed, as he was known, was anything but confined.

A resident of Good Shepherd Home - Raker Center, Ed passed away on August 6, 2022. He was 47 years old. Born in La Merida, California, Ed was the “epitome of the California soul,” says his wife, Jennifer Miller. “He literally was one of the most relaxed and laid-back people,” she says. “He never got mad. He was a great guy.”

Ed was an English literature major at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, where he was introduced to the poetry of Walt Whitman and Whitman’s seminal work, Leaves of Grass. For the young student who loved writing poetry, rock climbing and hiking in the mountains, Whitman’s lyrical ability to link nature to the inner life resonated with Ed. He penned some of his own poetry over the years until his multiple sclerosis made writing too difficult.

Ed was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 when he was a senior in college. The disease took its toll physically but not spiritually. “Ed said it was never a bad life, just a bad day,” says Jennifer.

Ed and Jennifer met through work at MBNA, where they were both customer service representatives. “He had long hair, Ringo Starr glasses and walked with a cane,” says Jennifer, “and I liked him.”

In 2003, they began dating and on New Year’s Eve 2011, Ed and Jennifer married. A son, Nathan, rounds out the family. “Ed was just happy to be alive,” says Jennifer. “He was happy to be talking to somebody, he was happy to have a family. I learned from him to go with the flow and enjoy life, because you literally don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Jennifer is grateful for the quality of life Ed had at Raker the last few years of his life. “We loved the nursing staff and therapists there,” she says. “They really personalized a plan for him and kept him busy. Ed took pride in his appearance and the aides were fantastic making sure he was always put together. Good Shepherd was like a second family for us.” n


Disability Awareness Day at the Lehigh Valley Zoo

On Sunday, November 6, 2022, more than 250 Good Shepherd Associates, donors and friends gathered to celebrate the unveiling of the new Good Shepherd-sponsored ADA Accessible Walkway at the Lehigh Valley Zoo.

The afternoon included remarks from Good Shepherd President & CEO Michael Spigel, animal encounters, food and sensory-friendly activities. The new walkway allows guests with varying degrees of physical abilities to experience the fun and beauty of the Lehigh Valley Zoo. n


Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network

Good Shepherd Plaza

850 South 5th Street

Allentown, PA 1810 3

In the Giving Spirit

During Hands Down St. John Street and Gifts into Bethlehem, presents purchased through donated funds are passed down a line of Good Shepherd staff to long-term care residents. Thank you for making this yearly tradition possible!

Non-Profit Org. US POSTAGE PAID Gettysburg, PA Permit No. 28

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