In 1975, Dale Sasser became a Licensed Nursing Administrator while he was employed with Max-I-Care Centers out of Wetumpka. During the next ten years, he worked as an Administrator at Luverne Nursing Home as well as a Max-I-Care Regional Administrator. In 1985, NHS Management purchased the Max-I-Care homes, and Sasser became a Regional Director for its Southern Facilities. In 1987, he decided to venture out and purchase Andalusia Health Care. In January, 1990, the ground was broken to build a new facility in Andalusia, Andalusia Manor. The vision was to soon merge the two homes. Andalusia Manor opened its doors on April 2nd, 1991, but unfortunately Sasser passed away on October 21, 1992 and never saw his vision made a reality. In addition to Andalusia Health Care and Andalusia Manor, Sasser managed and/or partnered with several facilities in the state of Alabama between 1987 and 1992 – Russellville Health Care, Phenix City Health Care, Hartford Health Care, Dunn Nursing Home, Cook Springs, Jacksonville Health Care, Whittington Manor Retirement Home, Tallahassee Health Care, Dalraida Nursing Home, Covenant Village, and Southland Nursing Home.
When Dale Sasser cut the ribbon and opened Andalusia Manor on April 2nd, 1991, his children were not allowed to attend. “It was a Tuesday,” SalLee Sasser-Williams said. “We did not miss school for anything. Stallion and I had perfect attendance from kindergarten and on.” But the siblings have missed little since that time. Even in those days, they helped out in the family’s business. “I remember putting the number on the door when the Manor was built,” Stallion Sasser said.
From 1991 until 2007, Andalusia Health Care and Andalusia Manor operated as two separate healthcare facilities. In March of 2006, construction began at Andalusia Manor to expand office space, patient dining, and rehabilitation space and to transfer the 42 beds from Andalusia Health Care. Merging the two facilities allowed for more patient care in a bigger, newer home. This was Dale Sasser’s vision. He worked so hard to operate the two facilities, and they both meant a lot to him. His dream became a reality in 2007 when staff and residents made the transition to Andalusia Manor.
Andalusia Manor was their father’s vision, and one they begged their mother to keep for them when Dale Sasser passed away just 18 months after the Manor open its doors. “He was in a car accident coming home from Montgomery where he was working on a deal with a partner for another nursing home. Daddy was the type of person who always wanted to come home and be with his family and sleep in his own bed,” SalLee said. “Family and home were first in his heart.” “I did not know until many years later that when he came home, he would open our bedroom doors and check on us,” Stallion said. “He was a family man,” SalLee said. “But his second love was the elderly. It was certainly his legacy that we would be caring for the people who took care of us.”
When their father died, their mother, Sheila Horn Sasser, had several opportunities to sell the family’s business, which also included other nursing homes. “We have to give all the credit to our Momma,” SalLee said. “She could have sold, but she knew our hearts were here. We asked her to just give us time to get through school. She kept Daddy’s dream for us,” she said. “There were a lot of sacrifices involved, and we are so blessed to have such a wonderful Momma.”
The siblings said the family owes gratitude to David Dennis, who managed the business after their father’s death, and also Don Maples, who was and still is their Health Care Consultant/Accountant. “Don is one of the best people I have ever known,” SalLee said. “He has always been an important part of our business family.”
SalLee’s first job at the nursing home was filing papers in the office when she was 12. She has worked as an administrative assistant, an activities assistant, employee relations—she has worked in every capacity except as a licensed nurse. She is now the Director of Operations for Sasser Enterprises, which includes Savannah Terrace Assisted Living located next door to Andalusia Manor and Southland Nursing Home in Marion, Alabama.
Stallion’s first job was working in the yard at 8 years old. At the age of 14, and without his mother’s knowledge, he applied for a summer job in the Maintenance Department at Andalusia Health Care. “Merle Neese, the Administrator at the time, called Momma and said she had to hire me because I interviewed so well,” he recalled. That summer the Brantley native lived in Andalusia with SalLee and worked. He has also worked as an administrative assistant and in human resources. Now, Stallion is the Assistant Administrator at Andalusia Manor.
Just as the two of them have ‘grown up’ with Andalusia Manor, they have watched employees do the same. Take, for instance, Andalusia Manor Administrator Trece Mays. “Trece was a CNA who worked while she was in nursing school and eventually became the Director of Nursing,” SalLee said. “She knows this business from the bottom up. She is such an inspiration.” And Mays is just one of a large group of employees to whom they refer as “wonderful, dedicated, but most of all caring”.
In the last few years, Andalusia Manor has made some upgrades within the home. “We have installed new flooring, painted hallways, and even upgraded our technology with Wi-Fi access to our residents and their families as well as our visitors,” Stallion stated. “We have just recently implemented Electronic Records on our halls and nursing stations.” It’s all part of Dale Sasser’s dream, the plan to a make a home for the residents and for the employees to be up to date on technology access. “Our Daddy instilled in us that this nursing home should not and would not be institutional,” SalLee said. “We are taking care of our friends, family, and neighbors. We are taking care of the generation who took care of us. Whether it is long term skilled care, respite care, or health rehabilitation services, Andalusia Manor strives to serve the young and old with a caring staff who are dedicated to quality of care.”