Mission Moment: Hank Storm 90th Birthday Ride

For his 90th Birthday, Heritage Resident Hank Storm wanted one thing – to ride a horse at Homestead Stables, the Equestrian center opened as a part of Heritage in December 2018 in Gerry, NY. Once the Heritage team heard Hanks wish, they jumped into action planning an event that moved both horses and hearts in the arena. After brushing and saddling up, Hank was joined by CEO David Smeltzer, and several other residents for his first ride on a horse in almost 50 years!

Hank, who spent years working with horses, and (I believe) has not ridden since 1949. This week was his first time back in the saddle and was his birthday wish. Hank turned 90 in November.

Lisa Haglund, Heritage Vice President of Marketing and Development said, “This moment embodies the vision of why we invested in such a unique and innovative offering for our entire community and Independent Living residents. Active and purposeful lifestyle is extremely important, and Homestead Stables is just one way we can make dreams come true while serving our mission and residents. We feel blessed to have been a part of this very special moment.”

Located on the Homestead campus, an active senior living community, Homestead Stables is not only a world class equestrian center which provides excellence in care and boarding of horses, but a place where ministry can be expanded to include lessons and programs for children, teens and intergenerational activities. In addition to equine educational events and programs, Homestead Stables also offers opportunities to provide therapeutic riding programs for individuals suffering from PTSD or other emotional or physical disabilities.

Marge McGinnis and Hank, riding together again!

“We’re certainly unique in our area,” David Smeltzer, Heritage CEO, said. “What started as the idea to create an experience for our residents has grown into a much larger vision since its inception. We realize we are truly only beginning to scratch the surface of all that our facility will be able to provide. What was intended to be a facility that would help us grow the Homestead Campus is now so much more. It is providing us with a whole new way to serve our community and the surrounding counties while continue to further our mission of serving others through Christ-centered ministries which promote “Hope, Dignity and Purposeful Living.”