A Historical Narration by Founder & Chairman of the Board: Craig Hart
The Heritage story began in 1960 when Bill Froelich visited his sister, Helen, in Washington, D.C. Helen, an official in the Federal Housing Administration, told Bill about a new program that the FHA was starting. The program was to stimulate construction of new nursing homes that would replace older homes that were serving this need at the time. Bill, who was a successful operator of a number of funeral homes and an ambulance company in Central Illinois, saw the need and opportunity for this service. Froelich took this idea and joined with banker Craig Hart, insurance man and brother-in-law Tom Jefferson, and prominent local doctor Herman Wellmerling to form Heritage Enterprises.
The first Heritage Manor in Bloomington was built with one of the first FHA-insured nursing home loans and opened in 1963. In 1965, a second home was built in Streator, Illinois. A new home in Peru, Illinois, followed two years later. Charles Adams, then assistant administrator of Mennonite Hospital in Bloomington, joined Heritage and served as CEO of the new company. In 1969, a young Joe Warner joined Adams as his assistant. When Adams retired, Warner became CEO and served until his death in a plane crash in 2002. During Warner’s 32-year tenure, the company extended its services throughout a broad area of downstate Illinois.
After Warner’s death, Steve Wannemacher led the company through an impressive period of expansion and accomplishment. Wannemacher stepped down as CEO and assumed the role of Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors in January 2014. Benjamin Hart was named President and CEO at this time.
Since its founding in the 1960s, under the direction of Froelich, Hart, and Jefferson, and the leadership of Adams, Warner, Wannemacher and a staff of many capable people, Heritage Enterprises has become a leader in senior healthcare. Today, the owned, skilled care facilities are known as Heritage Health, while assisted and supportive living facilities are part of the Evergreen Senior Living community. Institutional pharmacy services are provided by a sister company, Greentree Pharmacy. In addition, healthcare management services are now an important segment of the company’s growth.
Today, Heritage Enterprises provides healthcare and therapy services to thousands of senior citizens and provides employment to thousands of dedicated healthcare professionals. Heritage continues to grow, proud of its record and recognition for quality in the healthcare field.
The Heritage Enterprises headquarters is located in Bloomington, IL.