Serving justice through advocacy: veterans making a difference

Military service changes the lives of many, including the soldiers who are today veterans. Many continue to serve justice in several ways.

“Veterans took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same,” said Charles Rose, the director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy at Stetson University College of Law.

A display of flags on the Stetson Law campus in Gulfport in memory of 9/11.

A display of flags on the Stetson Law campus in Gulfport in memory of 9/11.

Rose served as a judge advocate and retired from active duty service in the U.S. Army in 2004, when he joined the faculty at Stetson Law.

“Those of us in a law school environment, whether teaching or learning, continue to fulfill that oath each and every day,” Professor Rose said. “It is, in a very real sense, a lifelong commitment to those principles upon which our country rests.”

Stetson Law’s advocacy program provides opportunities to continue to serve justice. “There is a direct correlation between the influx of veterans as law professors and veterans as students,” Rose said.

“From the conversations I have had with my fellow veterans around campus, I feel that law school does serve as a call to action to continue serving others,” said Javier Centonzio, a student entering his third year of law school at Stetson who served in Iraq as a Marine. “It might not be specifically serving other veterans, or returning to the military to serve our great nation, but each veteran has their own calling to continue to serve others through the practice of law and other fields.”

“For myself, I find the skills learned at law school empower us to make change and advocate, in the purest sense of the word, for those less fortunate in our society,” Centonzio said. “That might mean fighting for veterans  seeking  benefits or ensuring that indigent criminal defendants receive quality legal representation as guaranteed in the Constitution, the Constitution that we all took an oath to uphold and to defend.”

There are more than 30 student veterans at Stetson. Stetson maintains a resource page for veterans, a Veterans Appellate Rights Clinic, and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and Post-911 GI Bill.

Visit Stetson Law here to learn more about this program or to read some of the inspiring stories of veteran students and alumni at Stetson Law.