Meredith Cherry is spending time this week at Homestead Stables by Heritage in Gerry, NY. Meredith is a domestic violence survivor and is currently traveling alone with her horse Apollo for four years on a continuous ride named The Centauride, which spans 10,000 miles and 48 states, to raise awareness about domestic violence. She visits communities during her ride to discuss the realities of domestic violence and provide hope to those dealing with the effects of it in their own lives. Meredith spent time fellowshipping with residents and staff members, including Heritage employee, April Johnson, whose daughter, Shari Robbins, lost her life to domestic violence in 2016.

David Smeltzer, Heritage president and CEO, shared, “Domestic Violence is a systemic problem that impacts many individuals in our community.  As one of the largest employers in Chautauqua County, we know that at any given time we might have employees living in an abusive situation.  Of course this issue hit home when one of our own employees was killed by her estranged husband just a few years ago.  Since then, we have made it our mission to educate all of our staff about the warning signs of domestic abuse situations, and we have established policies which provide very tangible support for any of our staff members who find themselves in these situations.  We are grateful for the efforts being made by Meredith Cherry and her horse Apollo to shed more light on the realities of domestic violence.  We consider it an honor to have boarded her horse and provided her with housing and meals as she seeks to accomplish her goal of riding through all 48 contiguous states.”

To learn more about Meredith’s journey and The Centauride, please visit

Heritage Ministries was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations in the states of Washington, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, and assisted living. The Homestead Stables provides intergenerational equestrian opportunities as well as boarding, training, and lessons. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit