This article originally appeared in the July 2021 issue.
The overhead bay door rushes open and out drives a freshly-detailed diesel pickup where it is met by the owner and his wife who haven’t seen the truck in years. It’s the kind of emotional unveiling TV producers try to stage for must-see “reality” shows, but there is nothing fabricated on this day as Henry “Jade” Gullion is truly caught off guard. The truck owner wasn’t expecting to see his Ford Power Stroke on this day, which makes the unveiling that much more special.
Happy moments like this have been hard to come by for Jade after receiving the kind of news from his doctors no one ever wants to hear: your days on this earth are numbered. Only a few months earlier Jade, age 54, was as healthy as the next guy, working with the K-9 Service Dog Unit for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Then this past December he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalized twice – both times with double pneumonia. His kidneys were functioning at 60 percent, his blood levels were all over the place and he was at high risk for blood clots so he was placed on blood thinners. During a chest X-ray doctors discovered a tumor on his right lung. They needed to verify the type of cancer to determine the course of treatment and in order to do so they performed a biopsy where he was diagnosed with Granuloma, as well as an unknown blood disease. Now he must undergo a bone marrow biopsy to see if the cancer has spread and what this blood disorder is. Since the diagnosis he has had five grand mal seizures and was flown by helicopter to Barrows Neurological Institute to determine the cause. His body is failing him, but his determination keeps him moving forward.
With all this heavily weighing on his mind, Jade and his wife Wendi still agreed to stop by the KC Turbos shop in Arizona to meet with us about his 6.0L Ford Power Stroke. He was lured in to talk about his love of diesels, but had no idea the shop had partnered with others in the area to get his beloved truck back on the road.
Jade’s truck had bounced around to different shops in the area as it was slowly being worked on as money allowed. When news spread about Jade’s health issues, these same shops came together and in just a matter of days were able to fully restore his truck at no cost to Jade.
“We met Jade a couple of years ago through our friend Chris Rollins, the owner of Rowdy Racks Performance Diesel,” said Charlie Fish, owner of KC Turbos. “Jade beats his truck, in a good way. He runs it hard and really uses it and he’s shouted us out a lot and recommends us as he’s been racing his truck for years.”
“The more I talked to Chris, the more I knew we needed to do this for Jade,” added Jason Whitlock, the director of marketing at KC Turbos. “He has given so much and cares so much about other people.”
Charlie took the lead in organizing the efforts to get Jade’s truck up and running in a matter of a couple of days. Justin Norpel from Transmissions Done Right rebuilt the transmission and KC Turbos Tech Tony Foster did the installs and made sure the truck was running right. Then to finish it off, it was detailed by Meyers Detailing.
“The truck was fully detailed and Jade actually thought we had repainted it,” says Jason. “It feels good to have the resources, the people and the community to be able to all come together and do this for him. This is the most fulfilling thing I’ve done while working at KC Turbos.”
The truck is Jade’s dream as it's clear he really loves it. He also loves racing and it’s a big part of his life but the truck has been down for a while because of some issues.
“He’s had some bad luck with this truck; it just kept having all kinds of problems,” said Charlie. “To be honest the unveiling was kind of bittersweet for me. It was somewhat fulfilling but I still feel horrible inside knowing what battles are in store for him. A lot of people came together to make this happen and I only wish we could have done more.”
Now completed, the long list of upgrades on this 6.0L Power Stroke includes a Kill Devil Diesel stage 2 long block with O-ringed cylinder heads and 100-pound valve springs, with ARP Custom Age 625 plus head studs with everything being built from the crank up. The truck also includes KC Turbos Stage 3 turbo, Warren Diesel transmission, AirDog 11-4G fuel lift pump, an S&B intake, Warren 225cc 100 percent injectors, Odawgs Diesel “High Flow” 6.4L S3r intake manifold, Bullet Proof Diesel oil cooler system and Mahle .030 over fly cut pistons with Rowdy Racks doing a lot of the previous installs. There is also a SCT X4 tuner with custom tunes by Truck Source Diesel.
His wife Wendi and her side of the family jokingly refer to Jade’s truck as “Mid-life Crisis,” and it was even painted on the engine at some point years ago by Rowdy Racks.
“The truck has always been very therapeutic to him,” says Wendi. “When he gets stressed his truck is his outlet. He loves his truck as well as his dogs; those have always been his outlets.”
Jade’s military career began in 1988 in the Marine Corps, completing tours of duty in Afghanistan. He then followed his dream and became a K-9 Officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Fast forward a little while and Jade met his wife Wendi to whom he has been married for 17 years.
He had always felt the need to return to the military and did so, this time serving in the Army as a Combat Medic from 2008-2011. Shortly after enlisting he was called to active duty tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq, where saving the life of a small girl during Operation New Dawn was just one of his known accomplishments, which he received a letter of recommendation for.
He was part of the personal security detail for his commander and while deployed his housing unit was hit with an explosive which resulted in a traumatic brain injury.
“I was on a Skype call with Jade when I hear someone in the background yell, ‘incoming!’ and then my screen went black,” recalls Wendi. “It was really scary not knowing what had just happened and I didn’t hear from him for 48 hours so of course I was thinking the worst.”
Jade was sent to Ft. Bliss to recover and although he earned a lot of awards during his service time, this incident wasn’t one he wanted any recognition for.
“I actually could have received a Purple Heart but I told them not to put me in for it because I didn’t want to have to say I got hit with a piece of my PlayStation,” says Jade with a smile. “I was struck in the head but survived. I was lucky.”
A Life Of Service
Jade later returned home to Arizona and went back to work with the K-9 Unit, and became a member of the National Police and K-9 Association. He worked with various state agencies doing drug searches, tracking escaped inmates and helping to find lost and missing persons. Jade was built to serve and that was the main reason he chose this path in life.
“I’ve always wanted to help people and that’s why I pursued a career in law enforcement,” recalls Jade. “One of my biggest successes was a 16-year-old kid named Isaac who left a suicide note. He is a Native American and an avid hiker and I ran a hound to find him. I got his scent real quick and ran him down while he was standing on the edge of a cliff. He still stays in contact with me to this day. I find lost people with my hounds and I take a lot of pride in that. If there is a lost kid, I won’t stop until I find them and that’s rewarding to me. I want to serve the public; that’s why when the doctor told me I couldn’t return to work in April it really hurt.”
After exchanging hugs and handshakes with the KC Turbos crew and posing for photos in front of his vibrant-looking truck, Jade and Wendi climbed up in the cab and gave one last wave. Everyone in attendance, most fighting back tears of joy, couldn’t help but smile and wave back. Of course the biggest smile was coming from Jade as he drove off into the Arizona desert behind the wheel of his truck.
Tomorrow is promised to no one, but if Jade’s days are truly limited, thanks to some local shops, this day really counted.
Automotive Racing Products
Bullet Proof Diesel
Kill Devil Diesel
Rowdy Racks Performance Diesel
Transmissions Done Right
Truck Source Diesel