September 21, 2015

An Evening to Remember with...Our American Heroes!

Speech by Chris Megison, CEO Solutions for Change
An Evening to Remember with Our American Heroes
Sep 19, 2015 at Jet Source Carlsbad Airport
Good evening everyone and again welcome to our little hangar! How do you like it? We’ve done some pretty crazy things over the years but never have we transformed an airplane hangar into something this cool! 
Tonight we honor our American Heroes - and as we lift them up we are also calling on their warrior spirit to stand with you to lift up Solutions for Change in a battle that we face every day here with our people. 

This is a battle that is personal to me. It became personal when I lost my brother to his fight with addiction. It became personal one night 15 years ago while helping out at a homeless shelter designed for men when a little girl by the name of Jessica pulled on my sleeve and innocently asked me if I lived in the shelter with her and her baby sister and her mom - she asked it in such an innocent way - like somehow it was okay to live on the cold concrete floor of a shelter. And this wasn’t in one of the many third world counties I was in as a Marine - this was right here in northern San Diego. In my city - and that made it personal enough - for me.  

The ongoing causalities of the war on homelessness, with hundreds of thousands of lost, broken and hurting people, can be seen and felt everywhere. What was once a problem confined to single men in inner cities, has now spread to claim some 200,000 children and their parents in suburbs like northern San Diego. And with the US Dept. of Education saying that there are another 2.5 million children who are teetering on the edge of homelessness, now is not the time for a retreat. Now is the time for a full on surge. And tonight we have some interesting people here who know a little something about how to surge - they know how to move forward in the face of enormous challenges - they know what it’s like to sacrifice and serve for the sake of others – Thank you Taya and Clint, Thank you Dick Marcinko, Ed Eaton, Craig “Sawman” Sawyer and thank you to the dozens of veteran and active duty here tonight - thank you all for your sacrifice that you’ve given to each of us. [Applause]

As we look at the damage that this war is dealing, the impacts go deeper than many of us think - they go right to our patriotic core. The impacts claim many thousands of our country’s veterans new and old, those who’ve served and sacrificed big for us, now try to survive on the streets. They try to survive on OUR streets, with their kids - with kids in OUR community.  In the Marine Corps we used a term called UNSAT, which stands for unsatisfactory. Getting an UNSAT meant shame and failure, something that no Marine ever wanted to hear. 

Having 200,000 kids and their parents; many of them veterans on our streets…IS an UNSAT for America! And although we know that we aren’t going to solve it tonight…we are going to do something about it. We are going to bring our best foot forward and we are going to give it everything we’ve got. Tonight, on behalf of the Board of Directors and our Community Leadership Team, I am pleased to announce our next pig push to solve family homelessness, it will be our boldest effort ever in our 25 years of battling homelessness - it is an initiative that we will simply call Mission: Solve Family Homelessness - or SOLVE IT for short.
We are launching it before the end of the year, but I wanted you to hear about it tonight so when you walk out of here you know this just wasn’t a really cool experience in an airplane hangar and that it’s all over now. I want you to know that we, all of us hereincluding the over 500 homeless kids and their parents who are on the comeback trail right now in our programs, our champions…the Issa’s and the Bakers, the Minarik’s and the Kehoe’s, the Horn’s, the Mayors and the hundreds of others who give- our incredible Solutionizer Warrior staff - all of us…that this is the beginning of one of the most important surge’s in our nation. And our goal won’t be to just “deal” with homelessness – our intent is to SOLVE IT, permanently!

The message is that we are all in and that if you are a homeless kid out there living on a cold floor somewhere, or a veteran waking up in a freezing car with your kids, or a homeless mom like Trinity…we are coming for you! And we are coming with everything that we’ve got!!

Thank You and God Bless!
News coverage of the event can be found here: