A Navy veteran, husband, and father of two is originally from Miami Beach, Florida and the military brought him to the beautiful PNW. He is of Cuban and Puerto Rican decent however, his Spanish accent tends to favor the Cuban side. When Justin joined the military he had a drive to help others that was ignited through both of his brothers who also served. Thus, starting a career as a military police officer (Master at Arms) which is where his drive for veteran support stems from. Justin was stationed at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor where he got to share a once in a lifetime experience with the Marines as well as other government entities. He later transitioned and medically retiring from Naval Station Everett where he worked in the Chaplains office.
He believes in fostering an environment of belonging for all. A true champion of diversity and inclusion – he has made it a duty and life objective to break apart the malleable biases individuals have surrounding the military and veteran community. He believes in creating a unified front of veterans to inspire others through their stories, experiences, leadership, and uncanny ability to adapt and mold to their environment – will change the landscape, the very fabric of the associations that separates the veteran community. He says “we are the key to it all – we are the catalyst for change…serving in the Navy has etched and forged into me very being the core values of honor, courage, and commitment”.
Tom, a US Navy Veteran, received his bachelors in social work from Seattle University in 2017. He spent his undergrad years working with other SU students and staff to advocate for a center that offered services and resources for the SU veteran and military community. In fall of 2017, he had the privilege of being apart of the grand opening of The Outreach Center, which serves our student-veterans and first-generation students. Tom spent two additional years, post-graduation, working at Seattle U as the Veteran’s Navigator, continuing to develop programs and services that support the veteran and military community. In 2019, he completed a masters degree in social work at the University of Southern California. During Tom’s time at Seattle U, he described his journey as being very healing, transitional, and life changing, which led to him finding his passion for working with and supporting veterans!