I just did a little Google search on Gary Henderson.
There’s a Gary Henderson that coaches the Kentucky Wildcats baseball team. There’s a realtor Gary Henderson in Homewood, AL. There’s a broadcaster Gary Henderson with the bluegrass-themed “Gary Henderson Show” in Washington DC.
And then there’s the real Gary Henderson of Spartanburg–writer, journalist, volunteer, friend, founder.
Here’s the bio that came up from his time as a reporter with the Spartanburg Journal:
Gary Henderson’s first job in journalism was an afternoon paper route with 85 customers north of downtown Spartanburg that he delivered from a red bicycle he bought at Western Auto for $35. The wire basket for the front was another 10 bucks. He has always loved to read newspapers. However, at 14, he never considered that someday his byline would appear above stories. But since he returned home to Spartanburg in 1992, that’s happened nearly 4,000 times. To him, his name on a story is an awesome responsibility, and it says, “Readers, you can trust what I’m reporting here.” College, military service and jobs kept Henderson away from Spartanburg for 15 years. He lived in six other states, from the eastern seaboard to the Rockies, but he was a native son of this place in the Piedmont. He considers himself lucky to have received some honors for his work, including South Carolina print Journalist of the Year in 2000 and first place for investigative coverage in the Suburban Newspapers and America contest. But wall plaques aside, what really matters is that for 16 years Spartanburg readers have allowed him to write their stories.
To that, we say, “Gary, you can trust that we’re going to miss you in more ways than you know.” You see, Gary and his wife Carmella are moving to Costa Rica at the end of the month. Over the last six months, they’ve been learning Spanish and selling nearly everything they own. And now they’re saying their goodbyes.
It doesn’t say in that bio, but Gary was the one who brought John Lane and Betsy Teter together in 1995 and kept the discussion going about an anthology of Spartanburg writers to preserve a sense of place in his hometown. He was the catalyst for the Hub City Writers Project, one of the three founders, and he’s had a hand as writer, advisory committee member, volunteer, and HubCulture board member ever since. So, without Gary, there would have been no Hub City Writers Project, and, then, no HUB-BUB. That’s impact, no?
It’s a little surreal when your friend decides he’s moving to another country, to a fully furnished rental house outside San Jose with a full view of the mountains. You get jealous of all the time he’s going to have to write, to explore, to just…watch the clouds move across grassy and jagged peaks. You think, wow, it’s really possible to start over, no matter where you’ve been or where you are in life.
In a conversation we had last night, Gary referred to himself as a “nomad.” Granted, a nomad who lived other places and then returned to his hometown for the last 20 years, but a nomad who is up for any adventure.
We love you, Gary, and we’ll miss you!
Have some well-wishes for the Hendersons as they prepare for Costa Rica? Please share them here in the comments!