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True Soldier Stories

"Courage is the ability to move; when all around you are frozen in fear
and no one would blame you if you did nothing at all." Capt. Click. Phx. PD

My Name is Dewey D. Gullick

The Story of
a soldier, a prisoner,
a member of the Church ...and my friend  

I served 2 years and 3 months at the Arizona Department of Corrections under the direction of the
Gila River Branch Prison Ministries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. September
the 28th, 2003, was my last day. In the LDS-poem section of this site, "Brother to Brother" tells of
my first day in prison. It was an eye-opening experience I didn't expect nor will ever forget. I probably
gained more understanding about the Atonement and true brotherly love serving at the prison than
all my years prior to that time. The Scriptures remind us that we are not to pass judgment on others
as judgment belongs to the Lord Himself. I know there are bad men in prison but I also know there
are good men who have just done bad things. There is a difference. I also know the Savior loves
these men and reaches out to them for I have been there and have felt of His love for them.
This story is about a soldier, a prisoner, a member of the Church ...and my friend.


                                            My name is Dewey.
                                                    My story is not a pretty one
                        but I'm hoping my story may help just one person.
                                        That is why I have chosen to share it.
              I am 58 years old and I live inside the Arizona State Prison in Florence. 

We grew up poor and lived in a small town in northern Arizona. We lived in a place next to the railroad tracks. I am number 3 out of 7 children. My father worked in a feed mill about a block from our home and he was doing very hard, physical work. He moved burlap bags of feed, 100 pounds each, all day long. He was very muscular. He was also a very abusive person and I felt his wrath and strength many times. You see, I was born with real bad crossed eyes and I couldn't see very well at all. If you happened to be in his way, as I guess I often was, he would pick you up and throw you across the room just like he was throwing those feed sacks. Either that or he would beat you with his big hands, a board, a razor strap or a belt or anything else he could get his hands on.

                        My mom and other siblings would try and stop him
           and he would just turn around and beat whoever happened to be around.

Because of where we lived, being about 4 or 5 blocks away from the nearest house and with no phone, I guess this is how he got away with his actions. Thank goodness when I was almost 10 years old, my mother finally got tired of being pregnant (7 children in 10 years) and beaten up all the time and she filed for divorce. This was very hard for her. No one would step up to the plate and help her out. There was never any money for doctors or glasses as I so desperately needed. Probably if there would have been, both of my eyes might have had a chance to be corrected. The Lions Club donated my first pair of glasses when I was in the 4th grade. They came after my mom and dad had filed for divorce.

My mother started working for a man on a ranch 28 miles away. She worked from sun up to about 10:00 pm every night. Every weekend without fail, us kids were loaded up in the car and were taken out to work on his ranch as well. It didn't take him long before he took up where my dad left off. Beatings happened all the time. To us and to our mom. His new items were willow branches, pigging strings, bridle reins and saddle ropes, sometimes soaked in a 5 gallon barrel of water before using them. My mom went from the skillet right into the fire with this man. I guess my mom stayed with him because he fed us.

When I was 13 years old, I weighed about 100 pounds. This man weighed 275 pounds and was 6'4" tall. I might have been a full 5 feet by then. Doesn't really matter. Well, he started beating me with a willow branch and I had decided to run away. That morning I was about 4 miles from the ranch when he came after me in his pickup truck. He found me and chased me into the cedar trees with his pickup. When I couldn't go anywhere, he then got out of the truck and started beating me with more willow branches. He broke a few and when he did, he just went back to the truck and got another. He made me run back to the ranch house, following me in his truck. A couple of times he pulled along side me, jumped out, grabbed me and started all over again. This went on all the way back to the ranch. Once there, he took a saddle rope to me. My sister and my mother tried to stop him but to no avail. He just slapped and threw them around. I figured out it was going to be up to me and me alone. During the fracas, I kicked him in the groin as hard as I could and I started hitting him in the face with my fists. But he managed to get up and grabbed me and again started beating me with the saddle rope. I finally managed to get away from him and this time I headed across country--not by the road like I did before where he could follow me.

                        I had no idea where I was going, I only knew
                                    I wasn't going to stay there around him anymore.

I ended up in Concho, Arizona. A distance of 35 miles by road, maybe twenty as the crow flies. I had used up pretty much all of two full days getting there. I would often see the man looking for me and unloading his horse from his pickup trying to find me, so I would climb up into a cedar tree and hide until he had left again.

                        I had only one thing in mind and it was called "survival."
                                                 There was no way I was going back.

When I got to Concho, the very first house I came to was my stopping place. There was an elderly man and two dogs standing by a water barrel and dipping a bucket into the barrel, filling up a water can like one would take on a picnic. Probably 10 gallons or so. He took one look at me and I guess I must have been a sight to behold. I didn't know this man at all. First time I had ever been to Concho. I was sore all over and tired, cold, hungry and very thirsty. After he studied me for another moment or two, he went into his house and came out with a wash cloth, a pan of water, a bar of soap, rubbing alcohol, a towel and a great big glass of ice water. He gave me the drink and while I was still drinking, in a very profane way, he asked me who was responsible for my condition. I could hardly talk because I had taken a hard hit to the mouth. Well, he then proceeded to clean me up.

I probably had been there for perhaps a couple of hours and the man from the ranch pulled up to the gate and was fixing to open it so he could drive in with his pickup and horse. He came through and came walking toward me, yelling and cursing me, demanding that I come over to him. This new friend could figure out what had happened and what was about to happen again and he was not going to have any of this. He proceeded to tell him in no uncertain terms that I was not going anywhere. I knew the man from the ranch always carried a .380 semi-auto pistol in his right boot and he started reaching for it. I yelled to my friend what was about to happen.

He looked and then he yelled, "Rin-tin; kill"

Rin-tin was about a 90 pound German Shepherd. That was all my new friend said and Rin-tin was all over the man from the ranch. Lady was the other dog and when my friend pointed at Rin-tin, Lady joined him. It wasn't long and my new friend called the dogs off. This being after he went and retrieved the pistol that had fallen to the ground during the dog attack. Then my new friend told the man from the ranch to leave and never come back or he would personally let the dogs finish what they had started. My new friend let me live with him for the next 3 and 1/2 years. He made sure I finished high school.

                   My new friend was very rough spoken but I guarantee,
                                                          a finer man I don't think ever lived.

I have watched him take the very last dollar out of his wallet and give it to someone who he figured needed it more than he needed it. He did that sometimes to total strangers. Some repaid him over time, but I am sure many never did. "Give from your heart and not for the show and you will be rewarded." That was his motto. Also, "If a fellow person is in need, think of others before yourself." He lived those things very well and it wasn't for show or recognition.

After high school, I joined the Navy in January of 1965. My first ship was an oil tanker, the USS Neiley, A047, operating in the south China sea. After getting very sick and being transferred around, I finally ended up on the USS Serrano, AGS-24 and we set sail for Vietnam for the rest of my duty, up and down the coastline of Vietnam. I was discharged in January of 1969, loosing half of my right lung at age 24.

I got married, we had 5 children, 4 girls and a boy, and my son was married in the temple. After 23 years, Mary chose for a divorce. That experience on top of everything else, totally devastated me and I tried suicide to no avail. God had other plans for me. I married again, after about 3 years of being single but that marriage failed after about a year. After a few more mistakes in my life, here I am in prison, 58 years old with a 25 year "flat time" sentence. I'm in poor health and I have been locked down in prison since August of 2001, so you can see this is pretty much a life sentence for me. Here, locked down with other inmates in roughly a 7' wide by 9' long cell with locked, electric doors, controlled by the guards in the tower. We are let out for meals, which we have to walk in single file, around the perimeter--long way to the mess hall. The only other time we are let out is if we are on the master turn-out list.

Here, in prison, I took a good long hard look in the mirror at the person I had become over my life time. Exploding in just a flash and becoming very violent and ugly. (Funny how we take on the qualities of those who raise us.) After looking in the mirror long and hard, I wasn't liking the Dewey in the reflection. A person by the name of Bruce Odell, a fellow inmate, and a fellow by the name of Samuel Jeppsen, put some faith in me and you know what? I wanted to change that ugly monster I had become and that is what I have been trying ever so hard to do these past couple of years.

                               And now, I kind of, sort of like this present Dewey.
                                                      One-thousand percent better.

I do not even know what job God has in mind for me to do--I don't care. I will try my best to do God's will now and not Dewey's will. Everyday I ask Him for strength. When it's His time and will, God will let me know what I am to do. Until then it doesn't matter. I just try and treat everyone, irregardless of color, the way I like to be treated. Almost all of my reading is Scriptural literature. I know even in here God has not only answered prayers for me, He has actually stayed my hand and mouth from violence. The Scriptures have really helped me. We are all told to put off the old man and put on the new and to put on the whole armor of God, not just a little, but the whole armor. I hope someday to achieve that and serve with all my heart, all my soul. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and you don't need to know where you are going if you are following the Shepherd.

                         The best TV guide is the Bible. Correction does much,
                                                but encouragement does more.

I have wished a thousand times I didn't make the errors I made and my most stupid actions hadn't of happened. However, the past is gone and nothing will bring it back. The future, as much as we like to plan for it, isn't ours. It belongs to God. That leaves us only the present to decide how we are going to live and who we are going to follow.

                                   Younger ones,
                                          I would admonish all of you
                              to change right now and don't wait because
                                          could end up like me.

                        Strive to make the very present more of God's way
                                                                       and not man's way.

                                                           In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



Never forget

                                    Your presence is a gift to the world.
                                           You're unique and one of a kind.
                                    Your life can be what you want it to be,
                                           take it one day at a time.

                                    Count your blessings, not your troubles.
                                           And you'll make it through what comes along.
                                    Within you are so many answers.
                                          Understand, have courage, be strong.

                                    Don't put limits on yourself.
                                          Your dreams are waiting to be realized.
                                    Don't leave important decisions to chance.
                                          Reach for your peak, your goal your prize.

                                    Nothing wastes more energy than worrying.
                                          The longer a problem is carried, the heavier it gets.
                                    Don't take things to seriously,
                                           live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.

                                    Remember that a little love goes a long way.
                                           Remember that a lot goes forever.
                                    Remember that friendships is a wise investment.
                                           Life's treasures are people  ...together.

                                    Have health and hope and happiness.
                                           Take the time to wish on a star.
                                    And don't ever forget for even a day,
                                           how very special you are.

Brother Dewey D. Gullick, Florence, Arizona DOC, 2003


If you are or were a police officer, soldier, fireman
or wife, mother, father of such or some other branch of emergency personnel
and would like to share an unusual testimony building experience with others,
please contact us for details at

or use the link on the front page of this site at

Thank you and God bless,


"Think About it..." mailed to your home for only $14.95   S&H included

Read "Think About it..." Online Warrior Stories  | Excerpts | News Articles | Poems
Rear Cover | Reviews | About the Book | About the Author | Order | E-Mail  |  Home

S&J Liberty Publishing
P.O. Box 7899   Mesa, AZ 85216-7899
A 317 page full size book, mailed to your home for only $14.95   S&H included