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Meet Javier

 

Javier Centonzio is a first-generation American who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, with his mother who worked tirelessly as a nurse who cared for the elderly, disabled, poor and vulnerable and those with HIV & AIDS. Through his mother’s example, Javier learned at a very young age the importance of helping others and volunteering in the community.

After serving in the U.S Marine Corps, he returned to Kansas City where he took a job with the Union Pacific Railroad as a Conductor and eventually became a Locomotive Engineer. While working at Union Pacific, he learned firsthand the importance of labor unions and was an active member of both the UTU and BLET. Working at the railroad provided Javier with a good paying job but he was missing public service and the comradery and sense of purpose he had in the military, so he decided to join the Kansas Army National Guard.

While deployed to Iraq with the National Guard, Javier’s good friend was killed in action by a roadside bomb. Javier decided that he would honor the memory of his fallen friend by pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming an attorney. Having left high school to pursue his GED and vocational training at Job Corps he knew it was a long shot.

After returning from Iraq, Javier began pursuing his college degree from Park University where he would graduate with a 4.0 GPA in just over two years. While at Park, he served as the student body president, began advocating for his fellow veterans, and helped secure a $100,000 grant which the school used to create the Warrior Center at Park University that provides assistance to students who are military veterans.

Javier moved to St Petersburg, Florida to pursue his law degree from Stetson University College of Law. He immediately fell in love with the area and became heavily involved in the community. He adopted his dog Molly from Gulfport’s Get Rescued event, organized the Heroes Weekend Event which featured the first ever Veterans Day parade in Gulfport, worked to organize the Relay for Life event at the Gulfport Recreation Center, and volunteered for the Stand Down for homeless veterans at Bay Pines.

As a law student at Stetson, Javier received a full scholarship as a Distinguished Scholar, served as the National Director of the Veterans Advocacy Initiative for the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division, President of the Public Service Fellows and the Innocence Initiative, and received the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award. He was also awarded the Walter Mann award that is given to the student who has shown the greatest promise of becoming an outstanding leader in the legal profession.

By the time Javier graduated from Stetson with his law degree he had helped create the Veterans Law Institute at Stetson that provides pro bono legal assistance to disabled veterans seeking benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and established the Sgt. Jessie Davila Memorial Veterans Scholarship to help other veterans who want to pursue their legal degrees. Shortly after graduation, Javier moved to Washington DC to serve as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Hon. Robert N. Davis at the United States Court of Veterans Appeals.

When his clerkship ended, Javier moved back to St. Petersburg and bought his first home in District 69 where he still lives. He completed his Masters of Law degree in Elder Law at Stetson in 2014 and after working as a Veterans Disability attorney and being Of Counsel at and established Elder Law firm he started his own law firm, Weylie Centonzio, PLLC, that is also located in District 69.

As an attorney, Javier represents and advocates for disabled veterans, elderly clients needing assistance with paying for long-term care, disabled clients, and people who are injured due to the negligence of others. He serves as a volunteer attorney for disabled veterans through the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and has volunteered for the Wills for Warriors Program at Stetson. He is a member of the American Legion Post 125 in Gulfport, a Life Member of the Marine Corps League, volunteers for the Honor Flight of West Central Florida, and serves as a Board Member for the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch Based out of Pinellas Park, Florida.


Political advertisement paid for and approved by Javier Centonzio, Democrat, for Florida House District 69.
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