Advancing National Service

Despite Losing All Four Limbs, This Veteran Finds the Silver Lining Every Day

July 31, 2014
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Despite Losing All Four Limbs, This Veteran Finds the Silver Lining Every Day
Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, center, is one of five soldiers who has survived quadruple amputee injuries. Courtesy of Travis Mills and Family
Staff Sgt. Travis Mills continues to put his own challenges aside and help others.

Retired Staff Sgt. Travis Mills is one of five soldiers who has survived quadruple amputee injuries. But Mills doesn’t dwell on what he’s lost. Inspiringly, he believes that he is the furthest thing from a sob story. His life is simply his story.

In 2012, Mills lost both arms and legs to an IED while in Afghanistan, but just seven weeks after his injuries, he was up on his (prosthetic) feet walking. According to the Chicago Tribune, Mills shared, “if I gave up and quit, someone’s got to take care of me. I’m too stubborn to let somebody spoon feed me.”

While in recovery, Mills spent time at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and became the guy who inspired everyone. Not only was he working towards full mobility, but he was also taking time to talk with other wounded soldiers and their families. He quickly earned the nickname of “mayor,” according to his foundation, the Travis Mills Foundation, which helps injured soldiers and their families.

Fotolanthropy (a nonprofit that shares inspiring true stories through photography and film), approached Mills to do a short film about him and his family.  “Travis: A Soldier’s Story” won Best Short Documentary at the GI Film Festival in May and continues to be shown throughout the country.

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According to CBS, Mills is quite candid about his story, “I am a guy who lives with my wife and child… I just had a bad day at work.” Most mornings, Mills works out with a friend and says that the challenges that he faces are minor, compared to what other families have suffered.

Mills continues to inspire service men and women through his foundation. His motto throughout his recovery is now the motto of the organization, “Never give up. Never quit.” He helps wounded soldiers to deal with both the physical and emotional aspects of recuperation.

New York City resident, Tim Howe spoke with the Chicago Tribune about how, “once you see the movie, you won’t complain about anything in your life.” But perhaps, Katie Norris, film producer and Fotolanthropy founder explains Mills best: “His spirit is drawing people from across the country to want to learn more about this person who’s gone through so much and is still living to the fullest. And he genuinely is.”

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