Fountain Valley honors retiring police chaplains

Tom Borgquist, a retiring Fountain Valley police chaplain, stand with police department members.
Tom Borgquist, front row, center, a retiring Fountain Valley police chaplain, poses for a picture with police department members on Tuesday.
(Andrew Turner)

In the moments before two police chaplains would be recognized for more than three decades of service, Fountain Valley Mayor Glenn Grandis asked one of them if they would deliver the invocation before the City Council meeting on Tuesday night.

Tom Borgquist stepped in and did the honors, expressing gratitude for the growth of the community and for the protection provided by the police department.

The prayer to open the meeting directly preceded a presentation of proclamations to Borgquist of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Father Wayne Wilson of Saint Barnabas Orthodox Church, both of whom have retired after 31 years as police chaplains.


“Thank you for stepping up and doing the invocation,” Grandis told Borgquist before reading the proclamation. “I asked him literally right before the meeting started. I thought it would be so cool to have you do that. … Clearly, somebody who knows what they’re doing.”

The chaplains provided counseling and emotional support to members of the police department, their families and the public. The proclamations from which Grandis read noted that each was a founding member of the department’s chaplain program.

Father Wayne Wilson, center, is handed a proclamation in recognition of his 31 years of service as a police chaplain.
Father Wayne Wilson, center, is handed a proclamation in recognition of his 31 years of service as a police chaplain by Fountain Valley Mayor Glenn Grandis on Tuesday.
(Courtesy of the city of Fountain Valley)

Pat Estes, a former police officer, remembered the first time Wilson joined him for a ride along about 15 years ago.

“My mom and dad moved into a mobile home park down at Ward and Talbert in Huntington Beach, and a part of our routine that night was to swing by the mobile home and to give it a blessing before my parents moved in,” Estes said. “That night, Father Wayne, was probably one of the best nights I can remember. It was a lot of fun, and you blessed me more than you ever know.”

Fountain Valley’s police chaplain program has also included Matt Ford of Fountain of Life Fellowship, Pastor Brent Wagner of Voyage Calvary Chapel and Rabbi Stephen J. Einstein of Congregation B’Nai Tzedek.

Police Chief Matt Sheppard thanked the honorees for their service, before breaking into an anecdote of his first briefing involving the chaplains.

“It was the first time I sat in the chief’s conference room with the chaplain group,” Sheppard said. “There was five of you, and you guys scared the living daylights out of me. Imagine five different high-ranking chaplains from different denominations all in the same room, and I didn’t know what to expect. I thought that they were going to fight each other.

“I had no idea. It wasn’t about five minutes into this meeting that I realized that, ‘No, that’s not going to happen.’ These guys are here to serve. They just want to help people, and you guys did it [for] 31 years. That’s pretty special.”