Champions of Change
Justin graduated from James Madison University in 1992, and then from the University Of Denver School Of Law in 1998, joining the U.S. Marine Corps after his second year of law school. While on active duty, Justin served as a Judge Advocate specializing in criminal law, and was stationed both in Okinawa, Japan, and at Camp Pendleton, California, where he worked as a defense counsel and criminal prosecutor. Justin left active duty in 2004, but continued to serve as a Marine Reservist. He volunteered for deployment to Iraq in 2006, and served in the Al-Anbar Province as a Team Leader of a group of Marines performing civil affairs work while attached to an infantry battalion. While on a routine combat patrol six weeks into his deployment, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper. Thanks to his fellow Marines and the courage and skill of a U.S. Navy Corpsman, Justin survived. His personal awards from his time in Iraq include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, and Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal. In 2007, Justin started a new job with the U.S. Department of Justice, working in the Office of Immigration Litigation, and in November of 2008, Justin was invited to serve as Counsel for the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. While there Justin focused on a number of veterans’ issues related to health care, and is particularly proud of working on the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act. As a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve, Justin is also the Reserve Staff Judge Advocate for Marine Forces South in Miami, Florida. Between 2008 and 2010, Justin also started and ran two small businesses. Command Media, a film and video production company which focused on hiring and training wounded warriors to produce top quality film products, also worked closely with the University of Southern California’s Military School of Social Work in developing videos to train future social workers to better understand PTSD. Justin started his other company, Iraq and Back, with his wife, which has been transformed into a platform called the T-Shirts For Troops Campaign where people across the country can buy the apparel items, which are then sent to the wounded warriors and their family at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. Within the last year, supportive Americans across the country have bought over 2,500 shirts through this program. Most recently, Justin started a new job with the FBI working on a counterterrorism team, and he also serves on the Board of Directors of Cause. He also works closely with the Wounded Warrior Project, participating in the creation of Wounded Warrior Project Restore, and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Over the last several years, Justin has candidly shared his struggles with PTSD and has raised over $10,000 for these groups. Justin also does a fair amount of public speaking to help raise awareness of the myriad issues faced by our wounded warriors and their families and to reduce the stigma of PTSD. Justin also serves on the 4-year Congressionally-mandated Department of Defense Task Force for Care, Management, and Transition of Recovering Wounded, Ill, and Injured Members of the Armed Forces. Within the Task Force, Justin’s subcommittee pays particular attention to vocational rehabilitation programs, transitioning our wounded warriors to civilian life, and employment issues. Justin has been featured in magazines and programs such as Mens Health, James Madison University’s Madison Magazine, James Madison University’s student newspaper, the Wounded Warrior Project’s After Action Report, the Verizon FIOS Channel 1 magazine show “Push-Pause,” the Department of Labor’s America’s Heroes at Work Success Stories and the Department of Defense’s Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy Square Deal magazine. Justin aims to pursue a graduate degree in National Security Studies next year from Georgetown University.