Earlier this month, the police department held an open house to express its gratitude to Telando for his many years of commitment and dedication to the Fort Wayne officers and the community. At noon that day, Chief Rusty York appointed Pastor Gary Bush, of Abundant Love Church, as the department's new chaplain.
Telando was born and raised in Duluth, Minn., where he attended the University of Minnesota. Later, he attended Summit Theological Seminary in Peru, Ind., for a degree in ministry. Telando also held a job as an accountant, which he used to help support his ministry. Telando then served as an associate pastor before becoming police chaplain.
Telando said the biggest challenge he had to face as chaplain was having to respond to police officers after they had been at death scenes. Death notifications — informing family that their loved one had died — were also very challenging.
His main reason for trying to build a relationship with the police was police officers' home pastors don't know what it means to be on the street and the stresses that come daily with the job. Police officers need someone they can go to for advice and encouragement to work through their tension and uneasiness, he said.
Bush knows it will be a difficult job.
“One of the main challenges I expect as chaplain is having to respond to death,” he said. “Even as a pastor for 20 years, this still is a really big task for me.”
Bush says he has been preaching 34 years, since age of 18. He spent 15 years in the corporate world and trained under a bishop in the Church of God in Christ, the church in which he was ordained.
Though a South Bend native, Bush has lived in Fort Wayne since the mid-1960s, when the Studebaker plant in which his father worked closed, and he came here to work. Bush co-founded Abundant Love Church 20 years ago.
Bush wanted to become chaplain because he wants to help the community thrive.
“I want to be there as a source of encouragement for the FWPD and for the community of Fort Wayne,” he said.
Though he will have a variety of duties, he is assigned to the southeast district.
“I think even though we're here for the police officers, the chaplaincy can serve as a liaison between the police and the community,” he said.
Bush and his second wife, Crystal, have three sons between them. Bush has one son who died.