Couple Played Key Role in United Church Homes Acquisition

United Church Homes faced opposition and concern from some Glenwood Community residents when the nonprofit organization sought to acquire the community from Memorial Health System.

But Roger and Sally Roberts, who have lived at Glenwood for seven years and have been leaders on the residents’ council, helped to convince others the purchase would bring about positive change to the community.

During that time, Sally was secretary on the residents’ council and Roger was president.

“We tried to emphasize it was a nonprofit acquisition, because they had heard too many horror stories about for-profit organizations. It was really a sign of relief that not only was United Church Homes a nonprofit, but it has a spiritual base,” Roger said.

United Church Homes purchased Glenwood and Harmar Place Rehabilitation and Extended Care, both in Marietta, Ohio, in 2015.

Memorial Health System considered selling its property to United Church Homes to ensure Glenwood would remain successful.

“We understand the benefit of having an owner with more expertise and focus in the senior living industry,” said Jennifer Offenberger, a spokeswoman for Memorial Health System.

Sally said several residents had reservations about the deal, but it was an easy sell for others.

“United Church Homes offered experience in housing; the hospital did not. It was also a nonprofit and a faith-based organization. It was a win-win situation,” Sally said.

UCH leaders relied on Roger and Sally during negotiations and resident meetings about the deal to help ease residents’ worries about the transition.

“Roger was invaluable to me as a liaison to the Glenwood residents. This made our transition all the more effective in building the residents’ confidence and peace of mind very quickly,” said Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes.

The Robertses, who met at a leadership conference committee meeting at West Virginia University, have worked together and with others to improve their communities wherever they have resided. Both say it’s something they have strived to do most of their lives.

Roger served in the United States Air Force for two years as a legal officer. After his military career, he became an employee benefits specialist in Wheeling, West Virginia, and participated in several organizations to develop new housing. Sally served on local Girl Scouts councils and on the national board of directors. They both were a part of the Civil Rights Movement in the Wheeling area in the 1960s.

“Early on, we developed a social concern. It’s just a part of our makeup. We’ve tried to have our voices heard,” Roger said.

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