LORAIN, Ohio — Country legend John Rich held a concert in Lorain, Ohio, on Wednesday to benefit the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit that supports post-9/11 veterans at a retreat in Maine.
The organization helps veterans overcome physical and emotional scars — veterans like U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills who completed three tours of duty in Afghanistan and was critically injured by a roadside bomb.
“Fast forward, ya know, I’m so grateful to be alive that I don’t dwell on what happened," Mills said.
Mills lost both of his legs and parts of his arms that day. He is one of five quadruple-amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries.
“I don’t consider myself a ‘hero’ by any means, but I do know that I’ve been fortunate enough to make it through my injuries and leave behind some really good guys that didn’t make it home," he said.
With that in mind, Mills and his wife Kelsey started the Travis Mills Foundation about eight years ago. The foundation provides a retreat for veterans and their families just to be together, with each other, with other veterans. Through various programs, it helps these men and women overcome physical and emotional obstacles, strengthen their families, and provide well-deserved rest and relaxation in an all-inclusive, all-expenses-paid, barrier-free experience.
Chris Miller, a Marine Corps veteran from Northeast Ohio, has been shot twice, stabbed once, and sustained a 50-foot cliff fall with two other Marines that broke his back.
“They know what happened to me. They know the challenges I’ve faced ever since that day,” he said.
He and his family have first-hand knowledge of both that pain of injury and the retreat that stepped up and helped.
“It’s very emotional, and every day’s a challenge for so many veterans like myself that just making it through a day is hard, but you know what? So many friends from the foundation now have become family,” said Miller.
The veterans and their families who attend programs at the Travis Mills Foundation come from throughout the country.
“I’m grateful that a country star like John Rich will be helping spread the news about the foundation and what we do for our nation’s heroes,” Mills said. “It was them, my fellow veterans, who inspired me to create the foundation after my injury."
Click here to learn more about the foundation.
This story was originally published by Rob Powers at WEWS.