It has been 8 months since the Tustin Veterans Outpost grand opening in June of 2016. I am thrilled to report that our newest campus is thriving, and the lives of veterans and their families are being restored! Here is a glimpse of life at the Outpost so far.
One of the highlights of the past 8 months has undoubtedly been our partnership with the Exchange Clubs of Tustin and Irvine. The Exchange Clubs continue to tirelessly support and care for the Outpost veterans and their families. Each month, the Exchange Clubs host a BBQ and donate items to meet various needs. But, most importantly, their faithfulness in building relationships and caring for the veterans is a blessing to the residents, many of whom are encouraged just by seeing someone show-up faithfully.
Another highlight is the beautiful flagpole that has been installed out front. This generous gift was donated by a good friend of the Rescue Mission, in memory of her father, James A. Mongell, who was a US Navy Armed Guard in World War II. The veterans gather each morning for ‘colors’ at 8:00 am and sundown, in a brief but special ceremony to raise and lower the American flag each day. This time always ends with a moment of prayer.
The veterans themselves are thriving as they become more comfortable in their new home. One Outpost vet cooks at the Village of Hope every afternoon to provide 200-300 meals for the Armory, a location where homeless men, women and children are able to find shelter from inclement weather. He is making great progress in his journey to self-sufficiency as he serves others. This veteran, that had lost all sense of purpose when the base where he served our country was shut down, once again has a sense of purpose as he serves his fellow man.
Some other notable moments are the celebration of Baby Hope, the first newborn to be brought home to the Tustin Veterans Outpost. The family was blessed with a wonderful baby shower. And, a volunteer made dreams come true when he found out two of the veterans had a ‘bucket list’ wish to see an NFL game live. He surprised them with tickets to the Rams vs. Cardinals Game on New Year’s Day!
Moments like this contribute to a truly beautiful and diverse community, made up of both on-site staff, residents and volunteers from the community. The camaraderie is the most extraordinary part of the Outpost which makes this community one that is unique to veterans. It fosters an environment in which they are supported, and receive services that are unique to the needs of veterans, as they continue on their journey to self-sufficient, civilian life.
And finally, a very special thanks to my dear friend and on-site chaplain, Ray Johnson, and his wife Laverne. Their leadership, guidance, and care for the veterans makes the Outpost a special and welcoming place to call home. Ray himself has told me, “We’ve become a family here.”
Tustin Veterans Outpost, like every new service and campus that expands our scope of ministry, was a step of faith. We rely on God to provide through donors, volunteers and partnerships with civic leaders in order to serve more people. I eagerly look forward to the future, and what God will continue to do in and through the Outpost.
For more information about the Tustin Veterans Outpost and to donate towards the transforming work happening in these veterans lives, please click rescuemission.org/veterans.
Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.