I am grateful for the welcome and support Tustin Veterans Outpost has received from the City of Tustin and Orange County. The grand opening was a celebration of our veterans, and the hope they have for their futures. And it was also a celebration of the collaborative efforts between private and public sectors to fulfill the vision of Tustin Veterans Outpost.
After taking a moment to express my gratitude, I gave the podium to some of our local representatives to share about their experiences in creating Tustin Veterans Outpost.
Tustin Mayor John Nielsen started our celebration by exclaiming that it is a great and “bright new morning for our veterans”, and welcomed them home. He rightly noted that Tustin Veterans Outpost is a result of Orange County Rescue Mission and the City of Tustin collaborating to make this happen. Mayor Nielsen also noted that Orange County Rescue Mission was the first Tustin Legacy project, and now we are the first to open housing for veterans.
Tustin City Council Member Al Murray gave the Invocation. But he began his time with remembering a conversation he and I had about our concern for homeless veterans, and the possibility of veteran transitional housing in Tustin. Council Member Murray recognized the hard work, volunteerism and cooperation required to bring about this vision. And he prayed for veterans to now have a “peace that is beyond the peace they fought so hard to secure”.
“My heart is soaring like an eagle” is how Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Allan Bernstein expressed his excitement to see the community of Tustin come together to support one another. He explained that the Tustin Council believes there should never be a homeless veteran, and Tustin Veterans Outpost is “our small, initial contribution” to help veteran homelessness come to an end.
Tustin City Council Member Chuck Puckett expressed that this is a great day in the City of Tustin, and shows what can happen when the public and private sectors work together. “Wouldn’t it be nice if this happened all across our country?” he asked. Council Member Puckett recalled that on December 16, 2014, the Council had unanimously voted to sell this property to Orange County Rescue Mission. And in over 20 years of serving, this was his favorite, heart felt vote. He welcomed the veterans moving in with the sentiment “enjoy, we love you.”
Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer gave a “shout out” to Senator John Moorlach (also in attendance) because he was one of the leaders to first address homelessness in Orange County. He closed the Grand Opening with a challenge: We could make a dent in the homeless issue in Orange County if each city created a home like Tustin Veterans Outpost. We should commit to taking this model to other cities, and take responsibility for our county.
We would love to share Tustin Veterans Outpost with you. If you are interested in a tour, please contact us at 714-247-4300 or info@rescuemission.org.