CHARLESTON, S.C. - College of Charleston Assistant Dock Master Jacob Raymond has been named U.S. Sailing Sailor of the Week.
A former soldier in the U.S. Army National Guard, Raymond and the sport of sailing found each other not long ago and they've been giving back to each other ever since. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007-08 in East Baghdad, Iraq. Raymond was involved in a mission to work with the Iraqi Police Department patrolling the streets, searching houses and setting up road checkpoints. He also assisted in the relief effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Following his time in the National Guard, Raymond had been living off savings from his deployment in Iraq, while attending the College of Charleston. During his search for a job, he found a posting for a dock attendant position at CofC. Ironically, Raymond had been enrolled in a sailing class which was scheduled to begin the next day. He arrived early to his first class with resume in hand and was greeted by former Dock Master Colin Bentley.
"He glanced over it and asked if I had any sailing experience," Raymond said. "The thing was, I had never stepped foot on a sailboat. Too my surprise, he did not dismiss me right away. I cannot thank Colin enough for the years and patience he committed in teaching me, as well as so many others. It is the virtue of patience which I believe is the key to a successful learning environment."
Raymond found his sailing experience to be therapeutic. His first year back from Iraq was a difficult transition. He felt displaced from society.
"At first it was just cruising around the harbor that put me at peace, but to be honest I missed the adrenaline rush from Iraq," he said. "I found that thrill on the race course. Sailing truly saved me. It has become a passion I cannot contain to myself."
Raymond's responsibilities include maintenance of the fleet of 10 J22's, 18 Flying Juniors, 18 420's and eight Lasers for the nationally-ranked CofC sailing team. He also works closely with their recreational sailing program, which is open to students and the public.
"My favorite part of my job is teaching basic sailing courses," he said. "I enjoy having the opportunity to share my enthusiasm and passion with students. Nothing gives me greater pleasure then seeing a former student of mine out on the water sailing or on the race courses."
Currently, Raymond is working on a Tuesday Race Night on the 420's, which is inclusive to a wide range of age and skill levels. He pairs up beginners with more experienced sailors. He noticed a lot of former students who wanted to pursue racing, but felt overwhelmed or didn't have the opportunity to get out and race.
"I have never seen anyone who loves the sport of sailing, and helping others enjoys it, as much as Jacob," CofC Director of Sailing Greg Fisher said. "He is a true student of all aspects of the sport and has gained so much knowledge. He has become one of our very best, and valued, instructors. Jacob is regarded by all as someone who teaches with passion, ensures all of our boats are in top shape (with our Assistant Coach/Dock Master Ned Goss) and works hard to grow our sailing association."
Raymond was also honored as Student Employee of the Year at CofC.