After a life-altering accident, it’s hard to know which direction to go.
On April 10, 2012, United States Army soldier Travis Mills was out on patrol during his third tour in Afghanistan when his life changed in an instant. As Travis climbed out of a Jeep, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) that instantly ripped his left arm and leg from his body. Days later, his wife, Kelsey, was forced to sign paperwork allowing doctors to amputate his other two limbs because they were damaged beyond repair.
Suddenly Travis was a quadruple amputee, and he wasn’t sure what he would do with his life from that point on.
Tearfully, Travis told Kelsey to take their infant daughter Chloe and leave him to start a new life. “You just live a happy life,” he told her, “because I don’t have much worth anymore.”
Kelsey jokingly told him, “Yeah, I was thinking about that… But handicapped parking, you know.” Then, all joking aside, Kelsey told him she would not be going anywhere.
“That’s not how this works,” Kelsey said firmly. And that was that.
Travis says that having his family by his side was the only thing that inspired him to carry on. “Looking at my wife and my daughter, I thought, ‘If they’re going to be there with me, I’m going to get better. The only reason that getting better is worth it is for her.”
After Travis was visited by an Army vet who was also a quadruple amputee, he realized that anything was possible; he just had to learn how to live with his new body. The fellow veteran told him, “I walk, I drive, I do just about anything I want to do. And you can too.”
Travis spent the next 19 months learning how to live without his limbs. He had to learn how to do everything by himself, from eating and going to the bathroom to driving a car.
“I was upset, angry and embarrassed. Wondering how I was going to be a good father and husband.”
Travis and Chloe learned how to walk at the same time. Growing up, she will never know her dad to be anything but an amputee, and Travis is determined to make his disability a non-issue for her as much as possible.
Now, Travis and Kelsey also have a son named Dax. The dad makes a point to play with his kids, buying a soccer net for the backyard and taking Chloe to father-daughter dances at her school.
In addition to his fatherly duties, Travis also travels around the country giving motivational talks. His motto is “Never give up. Never quit.” He’s also established the Travis Mills Foundation to help wounded veterans recover with their families.
Travis is a true example of perseverance in the face of adversity! Watch the video below, and be sure to share it to encourage everyone you know to keep calm and carry on.
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