In our last devotion, we considered what Jesus had in mind when he told his audience that they “are the salt of the earth” and how this truth aids us in our mission of “Caring for all people for the glory of God” at HealthKeeperz. I invite you to listen to Jesus again in the gospel of Matthew.
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
This time let’s consider verses 14-16.
A careful reading of v.14 reveals that Jesus is making a declarative statement. That is, he’s stating that something is true now. “You are the light of the world.” However, Jesus refers to himself as being the light of the world in the gospel of John 8:12 and 9:5. How can I be the light and Jesus be the light? Let’s use the illustration of a full-moon-lit night.
We know the moon is not a source of light. It is a reflector of light. We call it a moon-lit night, but it is rather a “sun-lit” night because the moon is only redirecting the light of the sun. When due to the earth’s rotation we are out of direct sunlight, we experience night-time. But the moon, still being exposed to the sun, redirects the sun’s light onto the earth, providing light in a time of darkness. Likewise, we have no light in ourselves and can only serve as reflectors of the light of Christ once he has shone into our sin-darkened hearts.
He is The Light that has come into the world to displace the darkness by making reality and truth visible and in doing so gives direction and guidance. He delights to do this through his people. In John 3:19 Jesus says, “…people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” So, we see from Jesus in Matthew and John, that good deeds represent light (Matt. 5:16), and evil deeds represent darkness. (John 3:19) In the world, there is both good, and evil. Light and darkness. In a world with much darkness, we need people of The Light.
Every day we can imitate Jesus and thereby be reflectors of the light of Christ in our homes, workplaces, and communities. Remember, Jesus said that his followers “are light.” He did not say they can be or should be, but they are. Darkness only exists where light is absent. When a light switch in a dark room is turned on, or the sun breaks through the thick darkness of the night by way of the moon, the darkness must flee. My friends this is the way it is with those who will be reflectors of the light of Christ. Darkness will not be able to bear the presence of that light.
In our passage, Jesus likens our good works to light. By performing acts of kindness, showing compassion or being as concerned about the needs of others as we are our own, we imitate Jesus and overcome the evil of apathy and self-centeredness. God is glorified by us when Jesus shines through us. God is glorified through us when others encounter us and experience Jesus.
May God help us as our light leads others into His radiant presence.
For the glory of God alone,
Chaplain James Chavis, HealthKeeperz
By Tim Brooks
Over the last couple of years, we’ve set about redefining what it means to work at HealthKeeperz, building on the firm foundation laid by all who came before us over the last 50 years since our founding. You may have read my recent article about our Barnabas Culture, which captures what the very best among our team exhibit on a daily basis.
Recently, we began looking at the core principles that would underpin the next generation of HealthKeeperz, laid out as our mission, vision, and core values. In a competitive, ever-changing landscape of our industry of home health and hospice services, we believe that helping people get to know us through the attributes to which we aspire daily will help us align better with people who need our high standards of care.
First, let’s look at our mission: Caring for all people for the glory of God. At HealthKeeperz, we exist to serve the communities of our growing service footprint across North Carolina. Since our founding in the late Sixties, we have strived to do everything possible to address the health needs of the people of our hometown of Pembroke, then later in surrounding counties, and now in much of the state. We believe that all people deserve the very best care, on par with the standards of our country’s best hospitals, right at home where they are most comfortable and can thrive. And we do this for God’s glory, since he came to offer us lives more abundant and free.
After arriving at the purpose of our company as articulated by our mission statement, we have laid out a clear vision for our future and how we deliver value within the framework of caring for all for the Glory of God
We will be a company marked by wise stewardship. At HealthKeeperz, we believe that everything we have is a blessing from God, and we will be careful stewards of these blessings. These blessings include all of our tools and products for home health and hospice care, as well as how we look after our patients and each other.
We will embrace business growth. If we believe that we should care for all for the glory of God, the number of people we serve should expand in that spirit, plain and simple. We need to build our business accordingly.
We will deliver excellent outcomes and customer satisfaction. Our entire team, from leadership to management and all of our caregivers, performs its work to deliver the ultimate patient care experience to our customers in the comfort of their homes. We hold ourselves to our industry’s highest standards, with an ongoing commitment to implementing the latest technology and care techniques for the benefit of those we serve.
We will live a culture of encouragement. At HealthKeeperz, we talk a lot about our Barnabas Culture, and everyone on our team holds an unwavering commitment to create and preserve an environment defined by caring, selflessness, humility, and encouragement.
Finally, we have our core values, the molecular composition, if you will of our people who answer the call of our mission and live the vision of our company daily.
To work with us at HealthKeeperz, you must aspire to the core values laid out by our organization:
We are compassionate. We actively listen to each other, encourage each other, share each other’s burdens, and have honest and respectful dialogue.
We pursue excellence. We do it right the first time, expect the best from ourselves and each other, always seek to make things better, and build great processes and follow them.
We take ownership. We use data to make decisions, are professional, make wise decisions, and pursue innovative ideas.
We put family first. We work hard during the work day so that our families remain our priority, pursue a great mission together, are part of the HealthKeeperz family, where everyone is valuable and makes valuable contributions, and recognize that people have intrinsic value beyond what we do at HealthKeeperz.
If this sounds like the kind of company that would be the right fit for you, I invite you to take the first steps to joining our wonderful team at HealthKeeperz. Visit our company careers page for more information.
I love the mission statement of HealthKeeperz, “Caring for all people for the glory of God.” It is at the same time simple and complex. Seemingly easily accomplished and yet seemingly too lofty to attain. In the New Testament glorifying God is demonstrated by highly esteeming or honoring God. Sometimes it is an individual glorifying Him by offering praise for who God is or what He has done. But among the many ways to glorify God, there is one way that moves beyond a single individual's response to God and involves a third party.
Listen to Jesus explain it in the Gospel of Matthew 5:13-16.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Did you catch that? God is glorified when someone sees your actions and responds in some way which glorifies Him. Perhaps they give thanks for how God demonstrated His love and faithfulness to them through you. Or perhaps their faith is strengthened or they are encouraged by an interaction with you. Notice the two illustrations that Jesus uses. He says that his followers are salt and light. For now, we will consider salt.
Salt was and still is, used to preserve from spoiling or corruption. In a time without modern refrigeration, salt was the most likely option for preventing bacteria from spoiling food. Salt could make the difference between life and death when fresh food was not available. What does this say about us? Through Jesus, we can keep back unhealthy attitudes and actions in the world around us. I bet you have seen it happen when you have encountered someone who was grumpy or cantankerous and you resolved to meet them with kindness and grace. At least for the moment, their grumpiness subsided and they were a little more pleasant to be around.
While we are thankful when this happens the passage in Matthew has in mind the effect of preventing such "rotten" attitudes from ever colonizing. It is not always easy to keep the frustrations, disappointments, and trials of life from spoiling our day or the day of those around us. Therefore, we need each other.
I need someone else's perspective and loving input when my perspective is in danger of being spoiled by a "stinky" attitude. I am very thankful for the people who are salt in my life. Sometimes I can feel the spoiling begin and then one of these “salt of the earth” people show up and like great medicine fighting spreading bacteria, the nastiness is gone. Yes, we should thank God for putting these folks in our lives and when we encourage them by thanking them for their preserving effect we join them in being the “salt of the earth.” And best of all, God is glorified.
May God help us in our grand and very attainable mission of “Caring for all people the glory of God.”
For the glory of God alone,
Chaplain James Chavis, Healthkeeperz
In an annual survey of caregivers, HealthKeeperz was awarded as a Superior Performer among hospice agencies.
Healthcare data and analytics firm Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) has created the annual SHPBest awards program to acknowledge hospice providers that consistently provide high quality service to families and caregivers of patients receiving hospice care. SHP conducts studies known as CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). According to SHP, the company has one of the largest CAHPS Hospice benchmarks in the nation, leaving it in a unique position to identify and recognize organizations that have made family and caregiver satisfaction a priority and have been rewarded for this focus with high marks on the CAHPS Hospice survey. The annual survey includes both Medicare and Medicaid patients.
SHPBest award recipients are determined by ranking the overall score for all SHP CAHPS Hospice clients. HealthKeeperz earned the Superior Performer award, given to providers that rank in the top 20 percent of all ranked agencies.
According to Tasha Brooks, Hospice Director at HealthKeeperz, the SHPBest award reflects the efforts of the entire hospice services team. “Our hospice team is specifically trained to handle the special needs of our families guiding their loved ones during the last weeks and months of their lives,” said Brooks. “As patients transition to pain management and comfort care, it’s important that the HealthKeeperz team works to minimize the toll of the situation with each family, enabling them to enjoy their loved ones and allow them to pass with the dignity and honor they deserve. This recognition of our team by family caregivers is humbling, and it’s emblematic of how fulfilling our work can be, even in hospice.”
“I am so proud of our hospice team, especially for their commitment to each other,” said HealthKeeperz President Tim Brooks. “Hospice care can be very demanding, for obvious reasons, and our people hold themselves as individuals and each other to very high standards. We care very deeply about our patients and their families, and to have their caregivers recognize our team in this way makes us profoundly grateful. Thanks to our hospice care team for living our Barnabas Culture day-in, day-out.”
For more information about hospice services at HealthKeeperz, contact us today.
By Tim Brooks
It is the honor of my life to lead the company my father, Howard Brooks, founded in the mid-1960s. He built HealthKeeperz from his own keen instinct to always do the right thing by people. My dad has always looked for new and inventive ways to help folks, based on what they need for care. With his ultimate servant’s heart, he always ran this company with humility and a willingness to help the poorest among us.
With my father’s legacy of care inspiring the work of all of us at HealthKeeperz, I’ve made it my priority to focus inward on building a culture that resonates across the company. In the last few years, I’ve been motivated to collaborate with my colleagues at the company to create what we call the Barnabas Culture.
In late 2014, I had the pleasure of hearing a gentleman speak at a conference for Christian business leaders called the C12 Group. As part of this group, I had committed—just as my father before me—to build a great company with a great purpose. At this particular gathering, the speaker outlined for us that there are two reasons people work: first, they want their work to have value (as opposed to just pushing widgets), and second, they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
I thought about the attributes that we most cherish in our teammates at HealthKeeperz: encouragement, selflessness, humility, and caring. Our team realized that we had a Biblical reference point, a shining example for us to measure our own behavior by—Barnabas. In the Bible, Barnabas is the Apostle Paul’s close friend and missionary companion. Throughout the stories of their missions, we see Barnabas caring for Paul, helping him, and giving him credibility in his work caring for others.
In creating our Barnabas Culture, we sought to build a culture of encouragement for everyone who works here. We want HealthKeeperz to be the kind of place where people openly care for their HealthKeeperz teammates, where commitment to each other sustains us daily. Caring for others is hard work—we put our blood, sweat, and a lot of tears into caring for our home health patients, hospice patients, case management patients, and medical supply patients—and you need somebody to have your back, lift you when you’re down, and spur you on each day to do your best by each person in need.
We live the Barnabas Culture every day, and we celebrate it every quarter and annually. On a regular basis, you’ll hear a HealthKeeperz employees call out, “I need a Barnabas!” And sure enough, they get that reinforcement they need, right away. In our leadership team meetings, we always focus on two areas: first, we work on preserving the core, and second, we stimulate the progress of our company through vision and execution. On that first part, we inject a daily dose of Barnabas to our proceedings, asking questions like, “What can we do better for our people?” “Who needs extra help?” and “What more can we do to live our values?”
Perhaps my favorite aspect of our Barnabas Culture comes in the form of our quarterly Barnabas Awards and our annual Barnabas Award (informally known as the Super Barnabas). At the close of each quarter—and we’ve done this every three months since the first quarter of 2015—we survey all of our employees. Each employee has a say in nominating his or her peers for a quarterly recognition. Thus, each year, we have four winners, recognized for caring, humility, selflessness, and encouragement. Then, at the end of the year, we vote on an annual winner among the four to receive a special award at our annual Barnabas Banquet.
When it comes to corporate culture, there is no passive approach. We’ve been intentional at HealthKeeperz about declaring who we are and what we stand for, and that’s caring for each other so that we can care for our patients.
I am so proud of where we are going as a company, how we continue to grow our business by growing in the ways we can serve others, just as my dad built this company to do. I am most proud that we do all of these things with purpose, lifting each other along the way. To care for others for the glory of God requires us to follow examples set before us, and the life of Barnabas is our template for achieving this level of commitment.
A proud part of our heritage at HealthKeeperz is our founding deep in the heart of North Carolina’s native population in southeastern North Carolina, by one of the first licensed Native American pharmacists in the Tar Heel State, Howard Brooks. We celebrate our heritage, as well as our present and future contributions to the people of our hometown of Pembroke and Robeson County by sponsoring our community’s signature event, Lumbee Homecoming.
Established in 1968,) Lumbee Homecoming began as a celebration of Indian pride during the civil rights movement. As such, the annual Homecoming event, which typically takes during the last week of June and the first week of July, is a two-week showcase for the successes of the Lumbee people in all facets and branches of modern and tribal society.
Featured in the multi-venue celebration are events aimed at promoting the historic educational, social, economic, political, and cultural contributions to our communities, county, state, and nation. The event draws thousands of scattered Lumbee tribesmen and women back to the native homeland of Robeson County and the Town of Pembroke, generating millions of summertime tourism dollars in southeastern North Carolina.
The annual celebration is hosted by the Lumbee Regional Development Association (LRDA), in close conjunction with the Town of Pembroke and UNC Pembroke, as well as an array of corporate partners, including HealthKeeperz. This year’s homecoming featured live music and cultural films, a daily arts and crafts market, pageants, games (including wrestling, tennis, golf, and basketball) and a 5k fun run, fireworks, and a parade to close the festivities on Saturday, July 8.
On Saturday, July 1, the tribe recognized its significant cohort of veterans of foreign wars with the Lumbee Warriors’ Veterans Military Ball. HealthKeeperz, to further honor its heritage as a Lumbee-founded, Lumbee owned company operating for the health and well-being of both the Lumbee Nation and its neighbors, sponsored the annual Elders Luncheon on July 5 at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Center.
“Every day, we are proud to serve the Lumbee people in the healing work we do at HealthKeeperz,” said company president Tim Brooks. “Since our founding, we have been an embedded, committed part Pembroke, Robeson County, and surrounding communities, and even as we grow into a company that spreads across North Carolina, we will never forget our heritage. That’s why our partnership with the LRDA and our commitment to honoring our tribal elders remain important to us at HealthKeeperz. Our tribe is a gift from God above, and we honor our tribe accordingly.”
To learn more about Lumbee Homecoming, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, visit www.lumbeehomecoming.com.
In a stunning tribute to his professional accomplishments and public service to the residents of southeastern North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper awarded HealthKeeperz founder Howard Brooks with one of the state’s highest civilian honors, induction into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Since 1964, governors of the State of North Carolina have conferred this honor to reflect those who are known for their extraordinary contributions to the state. Brooks is the first recipient of the award chosen by the new governor and former attorney general, the Honorable Roy Cooper. He received the award, fittingly, at the annual Barnabas Banquet, a celebration of the company culture of HealthKeeperz, based on the values of excellence in care for others, selflessness, and uplifting colleagues.
Howard Brooks founded the company as Pembroke Drug Center in 1967, one year removed from his graduation from the School of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina. One of the first Native American licensed community pharmacists in southeastern North Carolina, Mr. Brooks dedicated his career to providing home-based medical care of the highest quality, regardless of ability to pay.
His faith in the people of his native Pembroke and surrounding rural counties in southeastern North Carolina was rewarded, as he quickly expanded the company into its current service area across much of southeastern North Carolina. Today, HealthKeeperz employs approximately 150 people who care for thousands each year as an integrated health system meeting needs ranging from a wide spectrum of home-based care and therapy to medical devices and hospice care.
In addition to helming a Gospel-centered organization for more than five decades, Mr. Brooks has served many community organizations in a variety of leadership capacities, including his beloved Pembroke Gospel Chapel, as well as Lumbee Guaranty Bank, and the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Known for his generosity to all, he has established the Brenda B. Brooks Distinguished Professorship at UNC-Pembroke in honor of his late wife, as well as the Howard Brooks Endowed Scholarship at Medical University of South Carolina School of Pharmacy.
“Our founder and my father Howard Brooks set a towering example for me and everyone else at the company for what caregiving is all about,” said Tim Brooks, current President of HealthKeeperz. “We are so grateful for this recognition, not only for recognizing a life of selflessness lived for the well-being of others, but for what it means for our region of the state. My father has always believed that there are no better people than the citizens of southeastern North Carolina, and he bet his life on it. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine shows that the people of our state believed in him, too.”
For more information on the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, visit www.longleafpinesociety.org.