About St. Martin’s in the Pines

Our History

Over sixty years ago, the Rev. David Cady Wright, rector of St. Mary’s-on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church, was concerned that many of his parishioners would not have a dignified retirement. It was Rev. Wright’s pastoral concern which gave St. Martin’s its beginning.

This commitment has been one reason for our continued growth. In 1957, St. Martin’s began as a retirement residence for 80 residents. Today, we’re a comprehensive retirement community, with a skilled nursing center, an assisted living facility, a secure Alzheimer’s community, and a new comprehensive therapy and transitional care program, the Pines Rehab. Today our comprehensive retirement community consists of Independent Living, moderately priced independent living, assisted living, memory care, short term rehab, and long term care.

But as we’ve grown, one thing remains constant: our mission to meet the physical, social, and spiritual needs of each resident. Because St. Martin’s physical and spiritual growth is still guided by the Episcopal Foundation of Jefferson County, our residents and their families can count on a sense of comfort and personal worth. Although the religious orientation of St. Martin’s is Episcopalian, residents of all denominations are welcome.

Our Staff

Zachary Jacobsen

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Jacobsen joined St. Martin’s in 2016 with a 20 year career mainly in senior living. He serves on advisory boards of aging services organizations, and is active in state associations advocating for aging services. He is passionate about mission-based services and the development of new and innovative programs that enrich the lives of older adults.


Dr. Mercedes Dewitt

Corporate Risk Manager, Quality and Corporate Compliance Officer

Dr. DeWitt has over 25 years in Healthcare Management experience in hospitals and long term care. She is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) and Aging Services Risk Management (CPASRM).


Reverend Jennifer Riddle

Director of Pastoral Care

Rev. Riddle joined St. Martin’s in 2010 and brings a wealth of Chaplaincy experience. She has served as a Naval Reserve Chaplain and Hospice Chaplain. She was ordained by the Southern Baptist Church in 1989. After becoming an Episcopalian and being accepted in the ordination process, Rev. Riddle received a Post Graduate Degree in Anglican Studies from the Episcopal Virginia Seminary in Alexandria, VA. Rev. Riddle was ordained an Episcopal Priest in 2001.


Nicole Boomhover

Director of Development

Mrs. Boomhover joined St. Martin’s in 2014 and has over 18 years of not-for-profit experience in the areas of fund development, grant writing, program development and quality assurance. She has a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama and is a member of The Junior League of Birmingham and The Association of Fundraising Professionals.


Taneshia Brown-Bowers

Assisted Living Administrator

Taneshia Brown-Bowers was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Taneshia graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Business Marketing, and continued her education at Ashford University receiving her Masters in Health Care Administration.  Taneshia has been working in the health care setting as an Administrator since 2012.  She really enjoys caring for the elders within the community, and looks forward to being the administrator for Woodside Place Assisted Living and Evergreen Specialty Care Assisted Living.


Johnnie Griffin

Program Director of St. Martin’s At Home

Ms. Griffin joined St. Martin’s At Home in 2015 and has worked in healthcare for the past 27 years. Her experience includes, but is not limited to, working with the seniors in rehabilitation centers, nursing home settings, and assisted living communities. This is her dream to work with the seniors in hopes of enriching their lives in a positive way.
She would like to see all smiles and sunshine on the faces of her seniors



Mike Faulkner

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Faulkner joined St. Martin’s in 1999 with many years’ experience in senior financial management positions with rehabilitation and acute care hospitals. He is dedicated to the long term care field and is active with state and national associations advocating for aging services.


Joseph Dunavant

Executive Director

Joseph Dunavant is Executive Director at St. Martin’s in the Pines with two years of experience in long term care. After completing the Administrator-in-Training (AIT) Program at St. Martin’s in the Pines in 2015, he worked for St. Martin’s at Home Program for a brief time before accepting a position with Diveriscare as an Assistant Administrator at one of their centers located in Huntsville, Alabama. After a year and a half, he was promoted within the company to take over a transition home in Oneonta, Alabama. Joseph is excited to be back at St. Martin’s where his career first started.


Cindy Brooks

Administrator of the Pines and Cottages

Mrs. Brooks joined St. Martin’s in 2018. She is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator, Registered Nurse, Assisted Living Administrator and a Certified Risk Manager. She has served the Long Term Care and Senior Living Community for 17 years. She has opened three Senior Living Communities in Alabama. She is active in the state association and has served as county Liaison to the North Alabama Healthcare Coalition. She loves and has tremendous respect for the elderly and has been active with the Alzheimer’s Association. After losing a parent to Alzheimer’s, she is a passionate advocate for the elderly population.


Susan Melvin

Director of Marketing

Ms. Melvin joined St. Martin’s in 2018. She has been in healthcare for the past 15 years. Her career included experience at UAB in surgery and radiology. For the past 6 years she has worked with seniors. Working in the Senior Living Industry is her passion and what she truly loves to do.


Susan Taylor

Director of Human Resources

Mrs. Taylor joined St. Martins in 2015 with over 24 years of senior management experience, including Human Resources. She brings extensive knowledge in training, employee relations, employee retention and labor relations. She has a passion for the elderly and is excited to join our team and work hand-in-hand with other employees as we carry out our mission.


Anica McDonald

Arbors Apartments Administrator

Mrs. McDonald joined St. Martin’s in 2016 with over 17 years of experience in Sales and Marketing in the healthcare field. She is focused on maintaining a culture of respect in the long term industry and remains passionate about customer service.

Our Stories


My husband and I were approached about being donors for The Cottages a number of years ago, not thinking we would have a need for St. Martins.

After visiting and learning about the project, which was the first of its kind in Alabama, we gave a gift. Since that time we have made an annual gift to St. Martin’s.

Then four years ago, my 90 year old mother-in-law was living independently in Texas. After a fall it became clear that she needed to be closer to family.

St. Martin’s has been the perfect place for her to live these past four years. St. Martin’s is in a central location, the apartments are nicely done with just enough room and there is a wide variety of activities offered. The residents know one another and watch out for each other. As needs have changed we have been able to find resources to keep her independent.

-Anne Warren

Words cannot express my feelings of gratitude for your wonderful organization. I remember too well my desperation…it was such a wonderful feeling of peace to know that my gentle, sweet sister would get the perfect care…I wish the enclosed donation in her memory could be tenfold, and even that would not be enough to express my gratitude to all of you.


Four and a half years ago I knew how fortunate we were that my mother could move into the Assisted Living. It was even then an answer to my prayers. But I could not have imagined how truly significant this move would be for her – and for me.

When my mother took her last breath, a nurse cried on my shoulders and when several staff members came by to say goodbye, tears in their eyes…everyone grieved with me. This place is unique, and I am so very, very grateful.

Thank you for your ministry!


Thank you for becoming my home away from home and caring for my wife in her last years. The staff treated her like family and I will forever be grateful.


The staff cared for my mother with such caring tenderness. Whatever would I have done without St. Martin’s. Her final days were filled with joy, peace and she was surrounded by family – her St. Martin’s family. Thank you.


My dear sweet uncle has been a resident in the apartments for over 6 years. Every time I come to visit – it’s like coming home to a family reunion. Knowing that he is cared for and loved gives me and my siblings such peace. We are indebted to your staff.


In May 2010, I had the difficult task of calling my cousin Barbara Wagenbrenner in Connecticut to inform her that it appeared her mother, Ruth Lambert (my Aunt) had suffered a slight stroke. Barbara, being so far away stated that she didn’t know what to do or where to start. I simply said, “Start with St. Martin’s”. Having grown up in the Birmingham area, I knew that St. Martin’s was the answer to any question we would have.


I started the journey off by speaking with Violet Lyons in Skilled Nursing. After our discussion she determined that Ruth would be better suited for Evergreen- Assisted Living. Violet then introduced me to Nicole at Evergreen. I explained the situation to Nicole and she agreed that Evergreen would be a good fit for the situation.


When Barbara was able to travel to Birmingham, she was still nervous about my selection. How could she not be, Birmingham itself was unfamiliar to her. When she got in the cab at the airport, the conversation with the cabbie eventually got around to St. Martin’s in the Pines, he eased her worries, “The Best in Birmingham” he told her.


She mentioned the situation to a random person in a local grocery store; they too said “St. Martin’s is the top option”.


The next couple of weeks were rough; Ruth’s overall health had her in and out of the hospital before finally settling in at St. Martin’s. By this time, Karen, the Administrator of St. Martin’s Assisted Living had joined our journey helping us and explaining everything that we needed to understand. It was at this time that we learned about Joell and the companion service, “St. Martin’s At Home.” Since we both work full time, this was the greatest situation for both Barbara and I to feel more comfortable at the beginning.


A week or two into Ruth’s stay, she became ill. By this time, Barbara was back in Connecticut, so I received the call that she was being transported to St. Vincent’s. I rushed to get there so that she would not be alone. When I walked in the room and saw that the St. Martin’s At Home staff member had accompanied Ruth to the hospital and would stay, I cannot even begin to describe the sense of relief. It was during this hospital visit that Ruth was diagnosed with cancer.


At that point, everything is blurry and all I can say is Nicole, Karen, Violet, Joell and countless others helped us get Ruth settled into the “Rose Suite” in the Skilled Nursing section for her final days.


This was when we were introduced to the Hospice staff, all of which provided incredible support and guidance for both Ruth and the family.


From the beginning to the end, every person associated with St. Martin’s in the Pines was helpful, supportive and comforting. For this, we are eternally grateful.


-Barbara Wagenbrenner (daughter)

-Jody Kallman (niece)

When Mom came to St. Martin’s she was not very outgoing. Her desire was for her family to allow her to stay at home by herself and she had no interest in socializing. Now she dresses up, puts on her make-up, loves going out to eat with the other elders on the bus, and she participates in all activities. Thank you St. Martin’s

Your care managers are a very special group of people, they are wonderful. They all spoil Mom. She has blossomed here – this is what we dreamed of when we were making the decision to place Mom in assisted living.

The attention Mom gets from your nursing staff is phenomenal! They notice everything. They are very attentive to any problem she may have.

Thanks for getting back to me. Everyone is amazed at my mother’s improvements. It is as though she has been gone for two years, and came back within half a week of moving into Evergreen Assisted Living. It is absolutely incredible.

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