2015 Heritage Award Winner Gary Hendley

His mother was from Sheffield, England and grew up in a proper English setting. His father was from East Texas, raised on a farm, and had to drop out of school during the depression to help support his mother and siblings. His mom and dad met in England during World War II and married. His older brother and sister were born in England and his grandparents moved from England after the war and lived with Gary and his family. 

It made for an exciting childhood—a large family living in a small home in a quiet south Texas town. Gary comments that though his parents were wonderful, the culture and language differences were something to chuckle at. 

His mother would say “we ate dinner last evening.” His dad would say “we ate supper last night.” So it's no wonder you might hear something between proper English and East Texas country come out of Gary’s mouth!

Gary credits the community in which he lived for shaping the direction of his life. The community’s adults were from the Greatest Generation. Most men had served in the armed forces during World War II. All had experienced the Great Depression. There was extreme, but unspoken patriotism. Most worked in the oil field or ranching in blue collar jobs. He never heard a complaint from any of them about how hard work was or conditions one had to work under. Their work ethic was impeccable. They appreciated their jobs and companies they worked for. No better example can exist for a boy growing up.

The boredom of a small, south Texas town in the 1950s created a Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn environment. As young boys, they learned to fish, hunt and explore on their own deep in the woods. 

A young man could literally carry any kind of gun or rifle and walk through the middle of town with it slung over his shoulder on the way to a new adventure. No one raised an eyebrow.

As a result, a good work ethic, self-reliance, common sense and community values abounded. Gary and his three siblings, Teddy, Vicky and Jerry, enjoyed a very Norman Rockwell-esque childhood. 

Leaving south Texas, Gary served in the United States Marine Corps for four years from 1966–1970, serving in Vietnam from 1967–1968. He achieved the rank of Sergeant E5. 

He began his career in the moving industry in 1971 with Associated American/Atlas Van Lines in Houston as a delivery driver for a Levitz Furniture contract and then became a part-time warehouse worker when starting college.

He has worked for EDC Moving Systems for 31 years. George Gilbert, president of EDC, created a company based on integrity, trust and financial responsibility. This has helped Gary grow professionally in an industry that is difficult to progress outside of ownership. In 1990 he transferred from Houston to San Antonio. 

That San Antonio team has grown from a very small branch with narrow focus, to a full service mover and logistics center and leading force in the San Antonio market. 

Not only is the moving industry important to Gary, but so is community—he is passionate about St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and Marine Corps Association. Gary is also active in the Texas Corvette Association—a club that not only promotes Corvette enthusiasm, but supports major fundraising activities for charities. He and Karin love to travel—noting car trips across the U.S. with the Corvette club, as well as cruises to the Caribbean, South Pacific and Europe among their favorite pastimes. 

Among Gary’s honors are being honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps, serving as board chairman for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, board member for the National Board of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, president of the Texas Corvette Association, president of the San Antonio Movers Association and chairman of SMA. 

But out of all of his honors, the greatest is to be married to a wonderful woman for 23 years—the love of his life and true life-partner, Karin. Gary credits Karin with any success he has achieved, as well as the family she has nurtured and cared for. They have four children Lisa, Shawn, Leslie and April, and three grandchildren Makayla, Maddison and Timothy. 

Gary, we thank you and Karin for your dedication to Southwest Movers Association. We could not have selected a more worthy and deserving member to honor with the 2015 Heritage Award. Gary—thank you for all that you do for SMA and the Texas moving industry!

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