Inside Track: Caddy’s life of service

Salvation Army divisional commander has spent more than four decades helping people in need throughout the Midwest.
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Major Glen Caddy said he plans to retire from the Salvation Army next year after more than 40
years of service.

The Salvation Army is central to providing social services to people around the world, and Major Glen Caddy has spent over four decades leading some of those efforts.

Caddy is the divisional commander for the Salvation Army Western Michigan and Northern Indiana and throughout his career has helped the organization carry out its mission of alleviating hunger, overcoming poverty, providing shelter, sharing Christian values and implementing community activities. It’s also allowed him to live in various parts of the country while carrying out his service mission.

His divisional leadership was evident in 2020 when individuals and families were struggling due to COVID-19’s effects on the economy.

Despite the downturn, Caddy was able to help the organization’s signature Red Kettle Campaign — even with fewer volunteers than previous years — surpass its $1.3 million goal by nearly $200,000 through direct mail and online donations.

Caddy’s ability to lead the division comes from years of leadership positions at the Salvation Army. 

After his freshman year of college, Caddy became a ministry intern at the Salvation Army in Jackson, working alongside an ordained officer for two years. He later enrolled in the Salvation Army College for Officer Training, a 23-month program.

“We did a lot of classroom work and a lot of what they call field training when we were out in Salvation Army Corps facilities working in the neighborhoods and communities, getting hands-on experience to back up the classroom experience,” he said.

GLEN CADDY
Organization:
Salvation Army
Position: Divisional commander for the Salvation Army Western Michigan and Northern Indiana
Age: 65
Birthplace: Detroit
Residence: Comstock Park
Family: Wife, Carol; daughter Jennifer and son Joe
Business/Community Involvement: Holland West Coast Chamber of Commerce
Biggest Career Break: “When I went back and said, ‘God, this is where you are leading me.’ In our positions we don’t really compete for jobs. We don’t promote ourselves into jobs, so the idea of saying, ‘This is my next career move’ just doesn’t seem to happen that way. I would say my biggest career break was back 45 years ago when I said, ‘Yes, this is where I am called to go.’”

When he completed the program, Caddy was commissioned as a lieutenant, ordained as a minister and appointed to lead the Salvation Army DeKalb Corps Community Center in Illinois.

The Salvation Army in DeKalb had a small congregation and a food pantry. Caddy, along with volunteers, started youth programs, character-building programs and a day care center.

“It was determined that affordable day care was a huge need in that community, so we opened a day care center,” he said. “We had character-building programs and Scouting programs. They were after school or evening activities that basically taught life skills and teamwork and those types of things. It was a good time. We were new and we were young and didn’t know any better. We started 22 new activities the first year we were there. The second year we said, ‘this is too much’ and we had to prioritize some things.”

After completing his third year, Caddy was appointed to Belvidere, Illinois. The main employer was a Chrysler plant but when he arrived, the plant had been closed for 26 weeks. At the time, Caddy said, 52% of the population was unemployed. 

He determined there was a need for a food pantry, so the Salvation Army partnered with Green Giant, a company brand that sells canned and frozen vegetables, to open a food pantry. Through that partnership, the organization also was able to secure Pillsbury products. 

“We would have canned chili, canned stew, hamburger helpers and those types of things,” he said. “Then we were able to make relationships with local grocery stores so we could buy fresh meats and buy things wholesale to restock the pantry. That was the biggest thing that we did in that community, to say there is a problem and we need to fix it.”

During his time in Belvidere, Caddy was tasked with stabilizing the organization’s finances. As a result, they had to “trim” the frequency of some of the activities different programs were offering. 

He was later appointed to Appleton, Wisconsin, where a new Salvation Army community center was built. He started youth programs, a food program that was run by volunteers and opened a free walk-in medical clinic.

Four years later, Caddy moved to the divisional headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, which served southern Illinois and Missouri. He was appointed as a divisional youth leader, overseeing youth programs and Salvation Army summer camps. He also sat on the division’s finance board. 

After another four years, Caddy moved to the Salvation Army Central Territory headquarters, becoming the assistant program secretary. He worked with 11 Midwestern states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana.

While there, he helped design and develop programs for evangelistic outreach and member recruitment.

After three years, Caddy moved to Grand Rapids for the first time and became a divisional secretary for Western Michigan and Northern Indiana, which consists of 39 counties in Michigan and six counties in Indiana. There were 28 different Salvation Army locations in those areas.

He dealt with property, human resources, IT and personnel issues. Caddy visited all local corps centers at least a couple of times per year to review and conduct inspections.

During that time, he completed his bachelor’s degree in practical ministry.

In 2003, Caddy moved back to the territorial headquarters in Chicago where he focused on developing and monitoring programs aimed at the denominational life at the Salvation Army such as discipleship programs, Sunday School curriculums, youth groups and music activities.

Caddy was appointed to Royal Oak after three years at the territorial headquarters. He was the pastor and a corps officer who led a congregation, community center program and summer camps. He also helped to lead a food pantry, an after-school program and an overnight men’s shelter.

Four years later, he moved back to Chicago to join the Salvation Army College for Officer Training as director of business. He was responsible for supervising the human resources, building and finance departments and managed record and bookkeeping for all students. He also was an instructor, teaching property management, finance, Bible and preaching classes.

During that time, he also earned a master’s degree in ministry leadership.

He then was appointed to Wichita, Kansas, as city commander, responsible for three social services institutions, two corps community centers and a camp.

“At the time, we ran a home for boys who were under court-ordered supervision,” he said. “We had a 40-bed unit for boys. We had a transitional shelter for families who were working their way out of homelessness. We had a foster care program where we supported foster families with training and development and licensing.

“We had two community centers that basically had their own youth and music programs. We had a big social services program in all the locations as well, providing food pantry emergency assistance and energy assistance. We had a camp that was utilized all summer long for day camps and overnight camps and then in the offseason it was used as an event center where people could rent space and have events.”

Caddy spent two-and-half years in Wichita before returning to Grand Rapids in 2015 as the divisional commander.

“It was nice coming back someplace we’ve been before,” he said. “It had been 12 years between and to see the growth in Grand Rapids from 2003 to 2015 was phenomenal.

“Obviously the opening of the Grand Rapids Kroc Center on the south side on South Division was a huge accomplishment in the time that we were away. It is a state-of-the-art facility that provides a lot of activities for the community. They partner with local schools to provide swim lessons, music lessons, after-school academies, senior programs. In addition to the fitness classes and other music and art classes, we have martial arts, ballet, gymnastics and all kinds of things. In addition to that, they have a great backyard, which is a nice playground. It has basketball courts, soccer fields, as well as a community garden and, in the summertime, it has a giant slip-and-slide down the hill.

“This was a phenomenal thing to move back in to and say ‘well, this wasn’t here before.’”

As the divisional commander, Caddy provides “administrative and ecclesiastical leadership.” He also serves as chair of the division’s finance board.

“We have the Kent County Social Services, which provides rent, food utility assistance and a program we call Pathways of Hope,” he said. “Families who are stuck in poverty, we help them break that cycle of poverty, we work with them in setting goals and working with their strengths. That’s a new initiative we’ve been working on the last few years.

“We have a Turning Point program, which is a substance use disorder treatment program. We also have the housing assessment program, which is the gateway for anybody needing housing in Kent County. They go through the clearinghouse at our housing assessment program where they have access to all the agencies and programs that are available for housing.”

The Salvation Army is partnering with the Kent County Health Department and Heart of West Michigan United Way on a COVID Emergency Rental Assistance program to help families who need shelter. Since the program began in April, Caddy said it has helped over 6,000 families.

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