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Sharing the Light

February 25, 2023 | By Dorothy Tecklenburg

Doug Bush Headshot
Douglas W. Bush

Doug Bush sat in the Washington County jail.

He looked out at City Mission and its sign: “Jesus Saves”. It was a sign in the literal sense and the figurative sense. “Jesus Saves” was Doug Bush’s future.

It was not the first time he spent time in jail. Nor the second. After breaking a few laws, giving up on bathing, eating, and grooming, his third trip to the County jail made him ready for change.

It was cold in jail. But when he looked at that sign, his heart grew warm.

“I knew I had had enough,” he admitted. “I got down on my knees and asked God to save me.”

God listened.

He was released on Christmas Eve 1998. He walked two blocks to the Mission. Like so many before him and so many after, they took him in. They offered him a home. They offered him an extended family. They offered him his life back. He took them up on all of the above.

“I told Him I’d rather work with people than things.”

Doug Bush has built deep, life-changing relationships with many through his work at Washington City Mission.

His prayer was answered.

The Washington City Mission exists to share Christ, to shelter, to heal, and to restore the homeless to independent living without discrimination. Doug Bush lives to shelter, to heal and to restore the homeless to independent living without discrimination.

You can’t separate the two.

The first thing you notice about Doug is his bearing, his light. Not a big showy light like a beacon. More like a dependable pilot light that is always there, always ready to burst into flame when needed.

It’s been 24 years since his conversion, and Doug never left the Mission. He started out as Donations Manager, progressed through various supervisory jobs including Director of Operations, and is currently the Manager of a 16-bed unit.

“I wear lots of hats” he chuckles.

But he really only has one job.

He reaches people.

As he walks through the Mission courtyard, he stops a man.

“Everyone can see the change in you,” he encourages.

The man smiles, obviously happy, but says that if he made progress, it was all because of Doug.

“Not me, Him!” He laughs and points to Heaven.

Many Mission residents have similar stories.

If it were not for Doug Bush…

“…I would still be homeless and living under a bridge.”

“…I would still be using and worthless.”

“…I would not have been able to regain the love of my family.”

Waller Bush and Jones
Phyllis Waller (Louis Waller’s daughter), Doug Bush, and WCCF Trustee Geraldine Jones pose together at the Louis E. Waller Humanitarian Award presentation event.

The Washington County Community Foundation is proud to announce that Doug Bush is the 2023 recipient of the Louis E. Waller Humanitarian Award, which recognizes a local individual devoted to the promotion of human welfare as evidenced by humanitarian deeds in the community.

All those fancy words come down to what Doug does best – he loves everyone, unconditionally.

“I’d been told that you only keep what you give away. That’s confusing,” he explains. “Then I was counseling a young woman and I realized that it wasn’t me talking. It was all I had learned. I had to give it to her to keep it. We are conduits. It’s God’s design to pour into me so I can pour out to men and women I encounter.”

That’s Doug Bush’s other hat: Humanitarian.