April 3, 2010, the day after Good Friday, we learned of the promotion to Glory of Colonel Henry F. Gariepy, O.F., the prolific author and literary icon of The Salvation Army. When I got the news, I imagined him entering heaven on Easter Sunday morning.
I also saw him crossing the threshold wearing, of all things, his running shoes, because he’s the only person I know who finished the New York Marathon—three times.
His role as a pacesetter has extended far beyond the 26–mile course that winds through New York neighborhoods. Since the day I met him in 1981, I’ve known him to be a leader, trendsetter, innovator, and modernizer of Salvation Army publications.
In my first meeting with him, Colonel Gariepy convinced me that my dream and calling—to use my professional skills full time for the glory of God—could finally be realized through The Salvation Army. At that point, I said goodbye to the world of secular publishing, gave myself totally to ministry, and never looked back.
By upgrading the production quality and content of War Cry and by streamlining its content to include only information of national interest, he helped set the stage for the development of such publications as New Frontier, Southern Spirit, Central Connection and Good News!, all of which now cover the news of their respective territories and beyond.
And I’m sure that Colonel Gariepy arrived in heaven on time. During the 10 years I worked for him at National Headquarters, you could set your clock by him. He was a runner, hunter, administrator, world traveler, teacher, speaker, husband, father, mentor and friend, and he also found time to write 29 books on theology, biography and history. For his prolific, important contributions, he was inducted into the Order of the Founder (O.F.), the Army’s highest honor.
Several of his books are popular among readers in the broader evangelical community because, as a master marketer, Colonel Gariepy made sure his books were available in mainstream bookstores as well as in Army trade stores.
He was a disciplined, determined soldier of the Lord’s Army. Relentless in his pursuit of excellence, he rarely relaxed on the job.
But one day in 1990, during a candid moment at a restaurant in Verona, New Jersey, he said, “Warren, if God were to promote me to Glory this afternoon, I’d still be a blessed man. I’ve already received more than I deserve [from Him].”
It’s hard to believe that that day has, in fact, come. Colonel Henry F. Gariepy, O.F., has finished the race; he’s kept the faith; and he’s left an unparalleled legacy.
By Warren L. Maye