Student Spotlight: Jacob Centeno

Losing a parent is never easy and at the age of 15 it can be even tougher to navigate. Rather than lose his way, Jacob Centeno did the one thing he and his father dreamed about – he went to college.

When Jacob’s father was killed trying to save four fellow Navy SEALs in Afghanistan in 2005, he didn’t know how he was going to accomplish their shared dream – to graduate from college. With a purpose and a strong desire to get his education, Jacob gained strength through his loss and found a way to fulfill his father’s last wish. It was then he learned about Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, a program that provides financial assistance for children who have lost a parent while in service.

With the college grant Children of Fallen Patriots provided, Jacob was able to attend school, focus on his education, and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of San Diego. “It was an enormous relief to know that there was help out there and that I wouldn’t have to worry about taking on any student loans,” said Jacob.

Degree in hand, Jacob went on to become an account manager for XTERRA Wetsuits and was responsible for their east coast division, but it was his volunteering for organizations like Operation 300Gold Star Teen Adventures and Warrior Ethos that made him realize volunteer work and helping others was his real passion.

Today, Jacob works with families who have faced similar challenges. As a program administrator at Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, he works with families that lost a loved one in the line of duty to help them realize they can still achieve their dreams.

With Jacob giving back to the organization that helped him, we know children of fallen soldiers are in good hands. Jacob knows firsthand what these families are going through and works to continue our mission to provide college scholarships to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

To get involved and to learn more about Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, visit