Eyler and elves lift spirits

December 20, 2004

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Yvonne Eyler

Occupation - Administrator at Coffman Nursing Home Inc.

Hometown - Williamsport.

Where would you see Eyler? - Eyler and a band of "elves" have been busy dressing Coffman Nursing Home on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown for the holidays.

Eyler, who has been doing this every Christmas for the 25 years she's worked at Coffman, estimates it takes two weeks with three to four people working full time to decorate the nursing home inside and out. Each year, they add more to the displays, Eyler said.

The decorating frenzy begins just before Thanksgiving and usually lasts through the first week of December. More than 25 Christmas trees grace the foyers and hallways for the enjoyment of the 59 residents, and each member of the administrative staff has a small tree in his or her office.


A sleigh - discovered by Eyler on a visit to Pennsylvania and refurbished by Coffman maintenance man Joe Guessford - and a full-size Santa are part of the winter scene in the lobby.

The courtyard outside the dining room is made into a winter wonderland with icicle lights, animated animals and lighted balls hanging from tree branches.

There also are wreaths, garland and decorative pieces throughout the facility, as well as a Nativity scene in the chapel area.

"It's a lot of work, but it's worth it," Eyler said. "The delight comes from their reaction. We do it for them."

Eyler admits that she thinks about the Christmas decorating year-round and that Guessford gets nervous when he hears she has an idea. Many of the displays are kept up through February, with the Christmas features removed, Eyler said.

Eyler tries to get her decorations up at home before the decorating at Coffman begins, before she runs out of steam. She and her husband, Curtis, live in Williamsport.

They have two grown sons and four grandchildren.

A graduate of Williamsport High School, Eyler worked in the medical field, then as a bookkeeper for another nursing home before becoming the administrative assistant there.

Her boss encouraged her to go back to school and she took courses in long-term care at George Washington University. That effort was rewarded when Eyler was selected as Admministrator of the Year by the Maryland Activity Coordinators Society in 2002.

Hobbies - "I just like to shop and be creative," Eyler said. "I'm always looking for something creative."

She's also involved with the Virginia Avenue Church of God, and usually helps decorate the 15-foot tree there.

What does Eyler like best about Washington County? - "You know, in Washington County, I think people are supportive. They are very appreciative of good care, what you do for others," Eyler said. "We have a lot of community support and volunteers."

Eyler said Coffman is fortunate to have community service organizations that buy gifts for the residents who wouldn't receive anything otherwise.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024, or send e-mail to

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