Staff Sergeant Venol Raymond, US Army
Venol Raymond was born and raised in Haiti. He moved to the United States with his father in 2003. Shortly after, Venol enlisted in the United States Army and served more than 7 years as an armor crewman. His service took him across the world to places like Germany, South Korea, and the Middle East. In 2010, Venol deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was tasked with ensuring that all troops were well equipped with the supplies they needed during combat operations. While in Afghanistan, Venol suffered a back as well as a left knee injury as a result of a vehicular accident. He was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Venol was medically and honorably discharged in April 2013 from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, from where he relocated to Houston, Texas, with his mother, wife, and two young sons.
After completing his military service, Venol earned a fellowship to serve at the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services in Houston, Texas. As a fellow, he performed over 612 volunteer hours in a very short time, mentoring refugees and empowering them to become self-sufficient. He also enrolled in school and completed the Wounded Warrior Project TRACK Program before becoming a Sentinel Scholar. He is currently a student at the University of St. Thomas, majoring in international studies with a minor in Spanish. His expected graduation date is in May of 2017. He will follow up graduation with the second half of his US Department of Foreign Service Internship, most likely in a foreign embassy in Ghana. This two-summer paid internship is an opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in the formulation and implementation of US foreign policy. Venol is hoping to find employment with the Federal Government or Homeland Security as a Foreign Service Officer. He speaks Haitian-Creole, French, Spanish, and English, and he is currently also learning Chinese.