Staff Spotlight: Glenna Murphy

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date June 23, 2023

Glenna Murphy was born on November 3, 1993, in Pell City, Alabama. After graduating from Pell City High School, she attended The University of Alabama and received her Bachelor of Social Work as well as her Master of Social Work.

“I knew I wanted to help people,” Glenna said. “I also knew I didn’t want to be a doctor and realized I didn’t have the stomach for nursing. Social Work was the best place for me.”

Glenna has always had incredibly hardworking and supportive parents. Growing up with a blended family, Glenna had older siblings to look up to as well. “My mom is my best friend, and my dad and stepmom are both very loving and supportive,” she said.

With such hardworking parents, Glenna got to spend a lot of extra time with her grandmothers. “My dad’s mom would cut up strawberries and put sugar on them,” she said. “She loved to watch golf. She was young when she passed away, only 77, so I was glad I got to spend extra time with her.”

“My mom’s mom would play with me in the yard. We picked fruit, pruned trees. We would sing songs on the way to school, but she didn’t listen to the radio or watch TV. She taught me how to entertain myself.”

Not only does Glenna have an incredible support system in her family, but she also has a strong system of friends, their families, and her church family. “My best friend Mariah is more of a sister to me,” she said.

Glenna has always had an affinity for seniors, so when she discovered her love of Social Work, working with seniors was a natural fit. And when the position in Social Work at Kirkwood opened, she knew she had to apply.

“My dad worked at Kirkwood as the Security Guard for 20 years,” Glenna said. “But I didn’t even tell him I applied for the job. I wanted to get the job and make it here on my own.”

Glenna’s stepmother Lori also worked at Kirkwood for about 20 years. “No one would stay at a job for 20+ years if they hated it,” Glenna said. “As a kid, I would come to visit my dad at work, and everyone was always so nice. As soon as you walked through the door, there were kind people that made it very inviting. You don’t get that everywhere.”

As Kirkwood’s Social Services Director, Glenna serves as the liaison between family members and nursing. She helps with transportation to appointments, quarterly assessments, and updates on loved ones. Her office is on the first floor of our Riverview wing in Skilled Nursing.

“I am so excited about the renovations we are having in Skilled Nursing,” Glenna shared, “and we are so appreciative of our families. So many family members are so involved, and they have all been so understanding and patient with construction. Our residents are so loved here – by us and by their families. It’s something else I don’t take for granted.”

Glenna and her husband Hunter are expecting their first child – a little girl named Etta Lynn – in October of this year. When Glenna is not at work, she is spending time with her family, her friends, and her two dogs, Bitsy and Bella, preparing for her baby girl to arrive.


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.

My time at Kirkwood was spectacular; they taught me how to walk again. The staff was outstanding, and the care was beyond reproach. When I arrived, I had a long way to go. I was very sick. The first night, they had to lift me as I could not move by myself. When I left, they were chasing me down the hallway. They taught me how to perform the activities of daily living again. It was the best care I could have prayed for, and on top of that, the food was spectacular.

Eli Gold Past Resident

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