Staff Spotlight: Charlene Varden

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date May 17, 2021

This month our awesome Billing Specialist, Charlene Varden is our Staff Spotlight!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am originally from Midfield, AL.  My children, Shana and Dalton and I moved to Corner 16 years ago when my husband and I married.  We blended my 2 children with his 3 children Channing, Cameron and Chelsea.  We are very proud of our blended family and our children’s achievements.  Surprisingly all of our children are very close.  Doug and I  are both very fortunate to join the ranks of being a Mimi and Poppy when our oldest, Channing and her husband Byron, blessed us with 2 sweet babies – Aksel who is 4 and Daks who is almost 2.  Every one in our little family is an Auburn fan except for Dalton and myself who are Alabama fans.  We all have a lot of fun with it, as you can imagine!

What is your role at Kirkwood? Billing Specialist

How long have you been at Kirkwood? I have been here a little over 11 year!

What is your favorite thing about Kirkwood? Our residents and my co-workers!

If you could sit down and have dinner with anyone in the world (past or present) who would it be? It would definitely be our former president and first lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan.  This former president instilled a certain feeling of pride in our Country that no other president has ever done.  When he was President you would never even think of seeing or hearing the things you do now.  It was a peaceful more fulfilling time in history where you felt that, no matter what, you could make a difference in your country.  You were encouraged to volunteer in your community, write a letter to your president and do what you could to make your country great.


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents