Disabled vets learn to sail


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- There are a few more sailboats in the Charleston Harbor the past few days. It's part of a series of sailing lessons for disabled veterans put on by College of Charleston Sailing and Hope for the Warriors.

On Thursday, the crews of the boats couldn't have asked for a better day to sail. There was just the right amount of wind and ample sunshine; a perfect opportunity for some veterans to get out on the water.

"Some of these guys are housebound so to get them out doing something they have never done before that is certainly a plus," said Don Gray, a volunteer with Hope for the Warriors. "Some of these guys have got primary caretakers that are their family, so that gives the family a little break, but it introduces them to something new."

Charles Kennedy admits he is a city boy, but he still really enjoyed it. He 's also a veteran who served from 1995 to 2013.

"Doing traditional all the old world sea dog type of stuff, all the lines and lingo -- this is pretty fun, pretty fun," said Kennedy.

His favorite part though was the race.

"Being veterans, being military, we are really competitive when it comes to stuff, so piddling with little side bets on who will buy who a case of beer here and there -- it was real fun," said Kennedy.

But these sailing clinics are also about camaraderie.

"For some of us Iraq and Afghan veterans, it's really important for us to stick together and talk about what we went through and swap war stories and help us get through,"said Kennedy.

And for Gray, sailing is a passion which is why he takes part in these events.

"Sailing kind of bought me out of my funk from Vietnam. It means a lot to me and I'm just trying to pass it on," said Gray.

And for some like Kennedy, sailing may just stick.

"I told Mr. Raymond you are going to see me again. I just got to talk to the wife about getting the money for it though, but you know how that goes," said Kennedy.

But either way, it was a success for these veterans who given so much for our country.

CofC was responsible for the sailing events, while Hope for the Warriors provided some of the financial support for flights, hotels and meals.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off