Gary Henry

Gary HenryDIAGNOSED WITH BLOOD CANCER

   My name is Gary Henry and I was born on April 12, 1948, in a one-room home located in the coal mining country of Indiana, Pennsylvania.  When my mother went into labor, my dad had to leave and get the doctor. While my Dad was on his way to locate the doctor, my granny delivered me. If it wasn’t for her birthing knowledge, I would have died. The umbilical cord was wrapped around my throat.  I was a blue baby. 

 

   My dad and granddad both worked in the coal mines. After a slowdown in mining, my family moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, where my dad became a machinist with the Lord Bonded Rubber Company. My mom stayed at home and was a great cook. Every Saturday, my mom made the biggest and the best cinnamon rolls you could imagine.

   My friends also knew what Saturday meant and were always hanging out with me at our house. I grew up watching Bonanza every Sunday night, and it was my dad’s favorite show. He also loved something else, called alcohol. At our house; the weekends were hell. That’s when my dad turned into another person and my mom paid the price for it!

   Every summer when I was older my parents dropped me off at my grandparent’s farm in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  I had a great time swimming, fishing, and riding a pony. My grandparents raised their own food, and I learned many valuable lessons there.  One of them was, when we were leaving to begin bailing and gathering hay; my uncle and granddad were wearing long-sleeved shirts buttoned all the way to the neck.  It is hot in the summer, and I  was wearing a short-sleeve tee shirt.

    My uncle said “Boy, you better put on a long sleeve shirt.”

    I laughed and said “No, I don’t want to be hot!”

   That was a big mistake! By the end of the day, my arms they looked like I had been in a cat fight. My granny put some of her black salve on my arms.  The next day when we went back to work, we were all wearing long sleeve shirts.

   When Sunday came all farm work ceased and my granny announced that we were going to church. When I was at home, we didn’t go to church and I didn’t know much about Jesus and all the miracles He had done.  Little did I did know, my granny was the “Church Lady” who played the piano. When I acted up, she made me sit next to her on the bench.  So, I learned not to act up in Church and a little about Jesus.  The seed had been planted.

   After graduation from High School, I joined the United States Marine Corps. After training, I found myself headed to Viet Nam in October of 1966.  When I was getting on the bus to leave, it was bittersweet because this was the FIRST time my dad ever told me, “I Love you son, come home.” 

   I was assigned to the ground forces in Viet Nam. During my tour of duty, I received two Purple Heart medals for wounds suffered in a combat zone. My worst nightmare while in Viet Nam was in May of 1967, in a place written in the History books called Con Thien, a United States Marine Corps combat base near the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone.

   On May 8, 1967, while we were encamped at Con Thien, at about 2:00 in the morning we were attacked by the North Vietnamese Army. This was a planned attack not only on our unit but four other positions that same morning and we suffered very heavy casualties. When the battle started, I was in a bunker with four other Marines. Our lines were weakened and they came through the wire. They overran our position and one of the North Vietnamese was able to throw a satchel charge filled with dynamite into our bunker. When it exploded, it killed the two Marines closest to the entry point and the bunker caved in on me and my fellow Marine. I knew I was alive when I felt a warm liquid running down the sides of my face. The explosion was so powerful and loud it blew out both of my eardrums and all I could hear was a tremendous ringing in my ears. That’s when I received my second purple heart. I checked on my fellow Marine and he was wounded, but still alive. I started digging my way out of the bunker in an effort to get myself and the other wounded Marine to safety. We made our way down a trench line and encountered a fellow Marine who helped us to safety.  That night we had hand to hand combat, which looks cool in the movies, but in real life it is not! God had His hedge of protection over me, as I shouldn’t have walked away from this battle alive. When they completed the final casualty count, eight out of ten men died. This bothered me a lot, while wondering why my friends died and I didn’t. The answer would come later in my life.  I attained the rank of Gunnery Sergeant before I left the Marine Corps.

   After the Marines, I changed careers and became a Police Officer for the City of Wichita, Kansas, where I worked for four years and then moved to Texas, transferring to the Dallas Police Department.  While on the Dallas PD, I was on patrol for three years and then transferred to S.W.A.T.

   When I was on the SWAT team, my job was third man on the entry team. Our unit ran all the hazardous narcotic search warrants for narcotics. Once we slammed the door, we would throw in a flash-bang grenade, which was very loud and very bright. It would blind you even if you closed your eyes. On one search warrant, we began slamming the door at which time bullets started coming through the door. We were on a second-floor landing and our slammer, who is first on the entry team, backed up so quick he knocked the next man on our team down the steps. We then backed out and now had a barricaded person situation. The negotiator came and talked the man out, at which time he was arrested. This could have been very bad for us, but again God was watching over me. I thank God that I never had to take a human life while on the Police Department.

   I was also assigned to Dignitary Protection along with the Secret Service when the President came to Dallas. I later helped to teach a SWAT school for the Beaumont Police Department. My next assignment was to an Investigative Unit as a Detective. 

   In 1998, I was diagnosed with blood cancer by my doctor who was giving me my annual physical on my fiftieth birthday. When my blood work came back he called me to come to his office. He then told me the diagnosis of blood cancer. He explained that I would probably live another thirteen years and would die as a result of this type of cancer. He then sent me to an oncologist who verified the prognosis and explained that phlebotomies were the only treatment at the time. At this time, I wasn’t attending church and reaching out to God.

   Sheree and I got married in April of 1999, at which time we were invited to go to a service at Lake Point Baptist Church in Rockwall by her Sergeant. We started attending this church and in July of 1999 at age of fifty-one, I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. On August 14, 1999 I was baptized in water. This changed my life; but I wanted more and I knew it was available. Sheree had already received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the gift of her prayer language. I retired from law enforcement in 2004, due to my health. In 2005, while praying at home alone, I began to cry out to God asking for more and just like in the book of Acts, I began to speak in an unknown tongue. I had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. That ignited a fire in me that will never be quenched. He was showing me that He wanted me to trust Him.

   I turned seventy years old this year, and I believe that the Lord had his hand on me from the time I was born. God in His Mercy and Grace allowed me to walk through the valley of death in Viet Nam. He healed my heart and has allowed me to help others to know that Jesus is Lord and merciful. Since Viet Nam, I didn’t think God would forgive me for all of the killing that I had done; but I learned through Jesus, even I could be forgiven.

Gary Henry Hearing HIs Voice Testimony

 

Instructions: Please set printer to print both sides in color using landscape and fold.