When there is danger, we are programmed as humans to reach out to those who know best how to help us. When the nation is threatened, we call out the military. When individuals are in danger, we call law enforcement. When someone is lost or a person needs to be taken into custody but is in hiding, the police send out a tracking unit with the help of K-9 units. Can you imagine a person who is part of all of these agencies needing help? Former Marine and Army Corporal Henry “Jade” Gullion, who until recently worked as part of the K-9 Service dog unit for the Arizona Department of Corrections, could use our help after years of service to both our country and his community.
The doctors recently discovered a Granuloma in his lungs, requiring very expensive tests and procedures. In addition, Jade has also been diagnosed with an unknown blood disease.
Our annual Salute The Troops edition for our July issue has become one of my favorite issues over the years, but this year it feels more important than ever to pay tribute and recognize those brave men and women who have served or are currently serving in our Armed Forces who are also diesel fanatics.
One of the hardest interviews I’ve ever conducted was for the cover feature on Jade in this issue. Going into the interview I knew his health was failing, yet I couldn’t really prepare myself mentally for how it was going to go. Even without Jade’s current health situation, I hardly felt worthy to sit across the table from an American hero who first served as a Marine, completing tours of duty in Afghanistan, then served as a K-9 Officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections, before returning to the military to serve as an Army combat medic called to active duty tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His life has been centered on service – while earning numerous awards – as well as tragedy while deployed when his housing unit was hit with an explosive, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. When he later returned home to Arizona, he went back to the K-9 Unit and became a member of the National Police and K-9 Association.
Jade has a service-oriented past but an uncertain future, and I was being asked to interview this brave man and ask him about his beloved truck when I knew he obviously had more important issues to be thinking about. However, his truck is his pride and joy to the point where his wife Wendi used to joke that he should be buried in it. He pushed his 6.0L Power Stroke to the limits and the result left him with a broken down truck. He hadn’t seen it for years because he wasn’t in a financial position to get all the repairs done and this was before his life was flipped upside down.
The truck and the people who came together to donate parts and their time is a great feel-good story (see page 24), but in reality what Jade needs the most right now is financial help with not only hospital bills and upcoming procedures and other medical costs, but for his family. He's been out of work since December, and the doctors have told him he can’t return to work, thus losing not only their income and health insurance but also his pension from the State of Arizona that he would have had after retiring if he could have worked just four more years to become a 20-year veteran.
This is only the beginning of the medical treatment and bills that Jade and his family will incur during this fight. He and his wife Wendi have four children and two grandchildren who are the light of his life and his world.
“I love my wife; she’s my best friend and regardless of what happens I’d just like the peace of knowing my family is going to be taken care of,” Jade expressed to me during our interview.
After serving his country and the people of the State of Arizona, this American hero needs our support, prayers, and if possible, monetary donations. KC Turbos has created a GoFundMe page for Jade; please donate if you can.