‘Sears Has Everything’

By: Major Frank Duracher

From 1969 to 1972, a nationwide ad campaign for Sears, Roebuck & Company boasted “Sears Has Everything!” For decades prior to Amazon, eBay, and scores of “dot-com” websites, the average American consumer could find whatever they needed at a local Sears store. For shoppers living far from larger cities and towns, the seasonal Sears Catalog featured everything from sparkplugs to the latest in ladies’ fashion.

And so it was that Henry Hunter, then in his early-20s, found something he was not even looking for — much less expected. What he found on his first day as a rookie Sears employee is the rest of The Salvation Army’s story.

Henry’s first day on the job turned out to be a life-changing experience. When he reported for work at a Sears store in Raleigh, North Carolina, he met his supervisor, Clyde Workman. The growing relationship from that day forward is evidence that corps visitation is not limited to knocking on doors in the surrounding neighborhood, nor is it only paying a visit to a member of the congregation.

Sharing one’s faith by example in an everyday setting is important as well.

Clyde served for many years as Corps Sergeant-Major of the Raleigh Corps. He is now promoted to glory, but his legacy remains with Hunter and many others who worked with him.

Hunter remembers that for Mr. Workman, sharing his testimony with fellow employees was very natural — when the time seemed appropriate.

“He immediately became more than a boss to me,” Henry says. “He was a friend and mentor.”

Clyde often invited young Hunter to worship services at the corps; and his persistence paid off when Henry finally agreed to visit the corps one Sunday morning. The warm welcome Henry received from the corps people, along with Clyde’s daily encouragements as they worked in the Sears automotive center, drew Hunter into the fellowship. Henry’s involvement in Army programs became intense, leading to his own call to Salvation Army officership a few years later.

“I remember when I applied for that job at Sears,” Henry recalls. “They gave me a choice: either work in the automotive center or on the floor as a salesman in the furniture department.”

He chose the automotive center, and he says now he is so glad he did.

Hunter entered the Evangeline Booth College as a member of the “Joyful Evangelists” session of cadets. He and his wife, Cheryl, served 35 years of active service as Salvation Army Officers in corps appointments in the Georgia and North and South Carolina divisions. They retired in 2014.

“Television commercials for Sears back in the 1970s would say: ‘Sears has everything!’  I know Sears didn’t intend for me to meet Clyde Workman—but the Lord did,” he said.

“I actually looked forward to going to work each day, just for the times shared with my boss, mentor and spiritual father, Clyde Workman. Those ‘visits’ meant everything to me.”

The only thing young Henry Hunter was looking for one day a long time ago, was a job — and he found one. But he also found something of eternal worth, if not unexpected. He discovered a life-altering change of direction for his life’s work — that of faithfully following Jesus for the rest of his days.

Now You Know how important that is to Major Henry Hunter.