Tony HeltonName: Tony Helton

Age: 40

Hometown: Chesapeake

Degree: Certificates in Marine Diesel and Welding, 2012

Employer: Tony is a marine mechanic and a welder for Blue Water Yacht Sales in Hampton. The company sells and repairs boats and operates a boat yard.

Why Tidewater Community College? “I was medically retired from the Army after being injured during a tour of duty in Iraq. Once I recovered, I needed to retrain and found my way with the help of the TCC Veterans Affairs office staff at the Portsmouth Campus. I chose TCC because of its reputation for being veteran friendly, which I found to be true. My passion is fishing and boating, so I decided to turn those interests into a career.”

His experience at TCC: “My instructors offered real-world experience and hands-on training that prepared me for the work ahead. They took the time to explain the material and engage students. Their goal was student learning, and it showed in every area.”

Finding a job after college: “My military background and TCC training gave me the skills needed to land this job, and it’s been a great fit. My days are never boring, as the boats are all different and the weather is always changing. After my time in the Army, I’ve learned to be grateful for every day. Life is not so bad when you are going home at the end of the day.”

Advice for a student interested in maritime work: “Stick with it! If you have a calling, so to speak, get that education because it’s worth everything. Tough it out, and when you get that degree or certificate, you are on your way to the job you were made to do. That’s what happened for me. Now if I could figure out a way to fish while on the water working, that would be even better!”
 

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