MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 29-year-old Maine man who is one of only five U.S. military veterans to survive a quadruple amputation delivered an inspirational message in downtown Minneapolis Thursday.
Thrivent Financial Services brought Travis Mills to speak to employees about his personal story of hope and inspiration.
Sgt. Mills was a new dad and just 25 when he was critically wounded in April 2012 by an improvised explosive device during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Mills easily cracks jokes about his injuries.
“What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs in the Ocean? Bob,” Mills told the Thrivent crowd.
He has written a best-selling book called “Tough as They Come” and is the subject of an award-winning documentary, “Travis: A Soldier’s Story.”
He puts crowds at ease by immediately bringing up the number one question people wonder about the young husband and dad.
“Still got it, still works. I’m not bothered about it,” Mills said.
The former top high school football player easily stands on two prosthetic legs. He also has a prosthetic arm. He readily shares his overwhelming despair after his catastrophic 2012 injury.
“How would my wife ever want to be with a burden like me? So I told her she should leave and she’s like, ‘No, that’s not how this works,'” he said.
Not only did his wife Kelcey provide unconditional love and support — his 6-month-old daughter Chloe, without hesitation, immediately snuggled with her critically injured father.
“At first I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s going to think I’m a monster,’ because I didn’t think I had much self-worth, really,” Mills said.
Mills says he hopes his story can serve an an inspiration for other veterans, especially those who don’t have the support his own family gave him.
“A lot of people think in the military that you don’t talk about your problems, you keep them all down and hidden,” Mills said. “Some people that maybe works for but other ones, if you are having struggles go out there and find help, you’re not weak for doing that.”