Tuesday, March 24, 2015

US Sailing Adaptive Programs in Action: College of Charleston and Jacob Raymond

When Jacob Raymond returned from Iraq and enrolled at the College of Charleston in 2008, he couldn’t shake the feeling of disconnection from his world.

As a military policeman in the National Guard, Jacob rode convoys and survived a roadside bombing, but like many war veterans, he had a difficult time integrating into the college community.

“I’d witnessed the worst corners of the world, but for my friends it was like nothing had happened,” said Jacob. “They were just living their lives.”

Jacob wanted to do something new, something that would connect him with the natural world, so he registered for Community Sailing Outreach, a for-credit course offered at the College of Charleston’s Sailing Association. This community program is run by Greg Fisher, the College of Charleston’s Director of Sailing. When Jacob noticed that the association was hiring a dock attendant, he applied even though his only on-the-water experience was in a canoe. “The manager was a former Navy guy, so he cut me a break and gave me the job.”

Since that time, Jacob has become an excellent sailor, accomplished racer and is now the Sailing Association’s Educational Director.

"Sailing turned from a part-time thing, into a passion and now into a career. I love it."

He is passionate about sharing the experience, and after volunteering at the Special Olympics, decided to start a wounded veteran sailing program at the association.

Charleston is a medical hub for veterans, and a perfect location for Jacob to offer learn-to-sail classes and host sailing clinics for disabled vets.“These guys have given so much, it’s the least we can do.”

Through the US Sailing Pioneer Grant that they received, the College of Charleston will be able to provide repairs for their fleet that will allow more veterans to get on the water.

1 comment: