Catching up with hometown hero SSG Travis Mills

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - (07/24/17) - "It's been a fun ride, been a long ride, you know lost a couple of limbs along the way, but still doing good," said Staff Sergeant Travis Mills.

The Vassar-native is still fighting back with humor after losing both his arms and legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2012.

SSG Mills took some time out of his busy schedule to Skype with us from Maine.

He moved out to his wife's hometown not too long ago. He says his parents and in-laws are close by too, which will be helpful because baby number two is due in about three weeks.

"No name picked out yet, but it is a little boy. We're bouncing around with all the options. I know that the road I live on now is called Vassar Lane, but I can't name a kid Vassar I don't think, so I gotta figure it out," he laughed.

Mills tells us his daughter was a little upset at first because she wanted a little sister and added his wife is doing well, just ready for the delivery.

Mills says this is actually the first time he'll have a few weeks without traveling.

He was in Washington, D.C. earlier this month and met up with Vice President Mike Pence for the second time. The VP took Mills on a tour of the White House and they landed in the Oval Office, where he got a surprise meeting with President Donald Trump.

"President Trump shook my hand, took my picture and we talked for about 15 -20 minutes and it was a really nice visit," Mills said.

Mills told the president his story and then gave him a challenge coin and a copy of his book "Tough As They Come."

"He said, 'You know who sits here, diplomats that are prime ministers, queens, kings and presidents of other countries.' And I said, 'Well I'm the president of my foundation, does that count?' He said, 'I guess today it does.'

That visit was in the midst of the Mills opening their Veterans Retreat house in Maine. It's been open for three weeks now.

Each week, Mills and his foundation volunteers host a class of eight combat-injured veterans and their families. They kayak, fish and take yoga - the list goes on.

"It's just a really good, relaxing time, letting them know 'Hey, we appreciate your sacrifice, we understand what you go through as a family, here's a network to reach out to of people who have been through the same situation,'" Mills said. "So, whether you call a person that you went to the retreat with for a good or bad thing, it opens the conversation that, 'Hey, I'm having a rough time, this person knows what I'm going through and let's build that network.'"

Mills says he wanted to include their spouses and children because it's important they build a network, too.

He says his foundation plans to partner with other veteran programs when they're not utilizing the house.



 
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