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      Staff Sgt. Travis Mills addresses State Senate, fallen soldiers' families

      Members of the Michgian State Senate convened Thursday to honor Michigan service members through legislation and a special ceremony.

      "It's one of the most moving things I've ever been involved in," said Sen. Mike Green (R)-Mayville.

      Th halls of the state capitol echoing the sounds of bagpipes, and draped in red, white and blue.

      All to remember Michigan's nine fallen service members over the past year; PFC Shane Cantu, Sgt. Justin Hansen, 1st Lieutenant Todd Lambka, Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Leach, SGT Joseph Lilly, Sgt. Kyle McClain, Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Price, Sgt. Mark Schoonhoven and Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer David Warsen.

      Their ultimate sacrifice something Thursday's keynote speaker can relate to.

      Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills addressed the legislature and family members Thursday during the 19th annual Memorial Day Service in Lansing.

      Sgt. Mills is a Vassar native.

      He lost both arms and legs during his third deployment in Afghanistan.

      At Thursday's ceremony, he addressed the teary-eyed family members of Michigan's fallen.

      "I know what they're going through the families up there because of the bonds and the brotherhood we make in any military service," said Staff Sgt. Travis Mills.

      Sgt. Mills said he wanted to speak from his heart during the address.

      But he did not leave his coined sense of humor behind.

      When talking about his preparation for his speech he laughed, "I joined toast masters to learn how not to say ya know, um," laughed Sgt. Mills.

      Laughs aside, Travis' story of strength and resilience is the inspiration behind a bill sponsored by Senator Mike Green, (R)-Mayville.

      Senate Bill 209 would establish a tax exemption for veteran fundraisers.

      The bill passed through the senate this week and is headed to the house.

      "One of the guys told Travis' story and he had almost the whole committee crying. The chairman told me afterwards I'd have given that kid anything he wants," said Senator Mike Green, (R)-Mayville.

      Sgt. Mills plans to continue giving of himself, allowing his new normal to inspire and reach out to others.

      He recently spoke with victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and said he wanted to continue to serve amputees like himself.