After Losing 4 Limbs, Purple Heart Vet Becomes Father of the Year
Dads are amazing people children need in their lives. Some fathers are heroes to millions, while some are heroes to one. Take Travis Mills for example. According to the website, Fatherly, he was nominated for the “Father of the Year Award.”
On April 10, 2012, Travis Mills, a staff sergeant of the 82nd Airborne, was with his team in Afghanistan when his life changed. Back at home, Travis left his wife, Kelsey, and their beautiful daughter, Chloe, to serve his country.
On that day, a soldier named Brandon swept the grounds with a minesweeper and nothing was detected. It was when Travis stepped out and placed his backpack on the ground that he triggered an IED.
The explosive ripped off all four of Travis’ limbs. His right arm and right leg were immediately blown apart — other soldiers never found those pieces as they disintegrated on the ground.
Kelsey was called, and the doctors informed her that her husband had been involved in an explosion and needed permission to perform amputee surgery. Travis’ right leg had a very large hole that, if left untreated, would bleed out causing him to die. Without hesitation, Kelsey signed those papers.
Travis lost portions of his arms and lost both legs. He is one of the five quadruple amputees from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that have survived their injuries. But he didn’t feel like surviving was the best outcome. He didn’t choose this life. “I don’t have much worth anymore,” Travis said.
“I was telling my wife, Kelsey, she should leave me and go do whatever she wants in life, so she shouldn’t put up with a burden like me,” Travis recalls, whose daughter was only four months old at the time.
Rightfully so, Kelsey was extremely offended by those words coming from her husband. She told Travis that “this is not how that works, and we will get through this.”
With the support of his wife and daughter, Travis eventually was discharged from the hospital with two robotic legs and one robotic arm. Each robotic limb is equipped with microprocessors, which senses muscle movement allowing Travis to walk and grab objects.
Even though Travis survived and had been discharged, he still had to come to terms with the fact that he lost all of his limbs. Reintegrating back into his daily life did not come easy for him. Challenges were still ahead.
It was that day he realized he needed a place to heal and recognized that there were no “getaway” places for amputees and injured soldiers. This prompted him to do something amazing.
Travis found an abandoned 1200-acres spa that was built in 1929. It had been up for sale for over 10 years. Travis decided to purchase it, but only with the help of his foundation, he raised over $765,000 and soon began to convert it into a retreat for injured soldiers and their families. Their stay would be free of charge.
“I wanted them to relax in a place where they’re not different because everybody who would come knows their situation and what they’re going through and could relate,” Travis said. “I thought, ‘What would I need?’ You have to decide where the showerhead is. If you don’t have arms, you can’t reach the shower head. You have to use carpets, not rugs, which can trip you up on a wheelchair. You have to have wider doorways for wheels.”
Last June, the Travis Mills Retreat opened. The first group that stayed there included 56 veterans and their families. The retreat is not just a place to sit and relax but a place to have fun and be active.
Activities offered there are things such as bike riding, horseback riding, yoga, paddle boarding, and much more. Additionally, there is a movie theater on site allowing husbands and wives to have date nights while caregivers babysit their children.
Today, Travis and Kelsey welcomed a new baby boy named Dax. He said that the retreat isn’t a calling but a way to ensure his daughter and son understand some day what really happened to their family and that there are others like him that need our help.
“I want them to understand they’re not the only children with dads like me — that there are other dads or moms out there in my situation. It’s something that happens, but life goes on.” Travis said. “That’s the biggest mission I have.”
Check out the full video below.
Travis was also interviewed by Ellen on her show. You have to watch this video! What a true inspiration he is and Ellen is an amazingly generous person!
What do you think about this man’s story?
GOD BLESS YOU!