Sentinel Stories


“SOF has impacted my life in so many ways. Financially, SOF eased the pressure of my mortgage so I could focus on my studies. The Sentinels have connected me with an outstanding mentor who’s helped me tremendously in terms of career development and networking opportunities and skills. I am living testimony of how much SOF can help you achieve your dreams.”

— Venol Raymond

Venol Raymond

Staff Sergeant, US Army
International Studies

Venol was born and raised in Haiti. He moved to the United States with his father in 2003. Shortly after, Venol enlisted in the US Army and served more than seven years. His service took him across the world to places like Germany, South Korea, and the Middle East.

In 2010, Venol deployed to Afghanistan. During that tour, he was in a car accident that left him with permanent back and knee injuries. He was also later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

With the help and support of Sentinels of Freedom (SOF), Venol earned a prestigious fellowship to serve at the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services. As a fellow, he served over 612 volunteer hours mentoring refugees and empowering them to become self-sufficient.

He graduated from the University of St. Thomas majoring in international studies with a minor in Spanish. Shortly thereafter, Venol began the second half of his US Department of Foreign Service fellowship at the foreign embassy in Ghana. This was an opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in the formulation and implementation of US foreign policy. SOF provided financial and personal support to Venol throughout his studies and fellowship.

After his fellowship, Venol began working with the Harris County Community Services Department as a veteran eligibility specialist. In the future, he hopes to work for the federal government or Homeland Security as a foreign service officer.

Today, Venol lives in Houston with his wife and their two children. He speaks Haitian-Creole, French, Spanish, and English and is currently learning Chinese.

Sentinels Across America

Across our great nation, our Sentinels are building new lives for themselves and their families.