Firm sponsors golf event to benefit veterans
On Saturday, February 20, 2016, over 120 golfers and supporters gathered at the Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Club in Clearwater, Florida, for the 2nd Annual Sgt. Jessie Davila Memorial Classic. As a veteran-owned business, Centonzio Law, PLLC, was proud to be a sponsor of this year’s tournament. The tournament was started by Elder Law Attorney Javier Centonzio to raise money for a scholarship named in honor of his friend, Sgt. Jessie Davila, who was killed on February 20, 2006, while they were serving in Iraq.
The Sgt. Jessie Davila Memorial Veterans Scholarship will be awarded to veterans who want to attend Stetson University College of Law and need financial assistance because they have no remaining veterans’ educational benefits. The goal of the scholarship is to attract veterans to the practice of law as a means of continuing service to others while honoring the memory of a great man who gave his life for his country. By virtue of their willingness to volunteer to join the military, veterans have shown a commitment to serving others and are equipped with the core values necessary to make valuable contributions to the legal profession.
This year’s tournament was significant because it marked the 10 year anniversary of Jessie’s ultimate sacrifice. Many of the golfers who played in the tournament were Stetson Law alumni, students, staff members, and professors. There were also several veterans playing in the event, including the team that won the tournament. The first place team was comprised of Marine Corps veterans, Hector Zelaya and Billy Burns; Army veteran, Steve Larson; and Air Force veteran, Donovan Rose.
Centonzio Law supports Wills for Warriors program
On February 23, 2016, and March 30, 2016, Elder Law Attorney Javier Centonzio of Centonzio Law, PLLC participated in the Wills for Warriors program hosted at Stetson University College of Law’s Gulfport campus. The Wills for Warriors program is a partnership between Stetson University College of Law and the Community Law Program to provide free simple wills and advance directives to local low-income veterans and their spouses aged 60 or older.
The program teams volunteer attorneys with Stetson Law students who interview the participants and draft their legal documents. Once drafted, the documents are reviewed by a volunteer attorney, and then the attorney and a law student meet with the veteran and/or their spouse to discuss and execute the documents. This process is very beneficial for everyone involved because it provides a great learning experience for the law students and allows the volunteer attorneys a chance to provide pro bono legal services to very deserving clients.
This is the third year that Attorney Centonzio has participated in this program, and he would encourage any attorneys who might be interested to volunteer for this annual event. Attorneys interested in volunteering for next year’s program should contact the Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson.
For more information about the Wills for Warriors event, please click here.
Javier Centonzio graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2012 with his J.D. and received his Masters of Law (LLM) in Elder Law in 2014. He is accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps and the Kansas Army National Guard. Javier lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and proudly serves the Pinellas County area. His office is conveniently located in Largo, Florida, in the center of Pinellas County.
Elder Law Attorney establishes fund for disabled veterans
On March 30, 2016, Elder Law Attorney Javier Centonzio established the Veterans Advocacy Legal Operational Resource (VALOR) Fund at Stetson University College of Law. The VALOR Fund will be used to help veterans seeking disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs by covering the costs related to obtaining evidence to support their claims.
Centonzio is a Stetson Law alumnus who graduated with his Juris Doctorate in 2012 and his Masters of Law in Elder Law in 2014. Prior to entering law school, Javier served as an enlisted infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps and the Kansas Army National Guard. During his time at Stetson, he spearheaded many efforts to raise awareness of veterans issues and helped create the Veterans Law Institute (VLI).
One of the components of the VLI is the Veterans Advocacy Clinic, which represents veterans who need free legal help with VA disability benefits appeals. Many veterans who are represented by the Veterans Advocacy Clinic need additional evidence to support their disability claims–such as medical examinations, psychological reports, etc.–but simply cannot afford this additional expense. The sole purpose of the VALOR Fund is to provide direct support to these veterans and claimants by eliminating the financial obstacles that may prevent them from obtaining the evidence they need to win their appeals.
For more information about the VALOR Fund or to make a donation please contact Elder Law Attorney Javier Centonzio at [email protected] For more information about the Veterans Law Institute please click here.