First Look: Vassar native Travis Mills' new Maine retreat for veteran amputees

Vassar native Travis Mills' gives us a first look at a new Maine retreat for veteran amputees. (Photo: WEYI/WSMH)

It's been five years since Vassar native, retired staff sergeant, Travis Mills, lost all four limbs during his third tour in Afghanistan.

That moment ended one mission, but started another, one that was years in the making.

Positivity, an ability to see a better future, is what courses through Travis Mills' veins.

He's dedicated the last couple of years of his life to building new beginnings for amputees like himself.

We bring you the first look at a rehabilitation home in Maine he is carefully constructing for America’s veteran amputees.

A little more than five years ago, Vassar native, army staff sergeant Travis Mills dropped his backpack in the dirt in Afghanistan, setting off an IED.

“My 25th birthday I woke up to find out I had no arms and legs," said Mills

But he didn't feel sorry for himself.

"I have friends that never made it back from overseas. They'll never see their family again."

He didn't focus on what he can't rebuild in his life.

"We live in a great nation where I have a hand that can do cool things, I drove here in my truck today with my legs."

Instead he's making room for the people whose lives he can change…a lot of room.

"This property and what we can achieve here is going to be phenomenal for not just the veterans but for the community to know they're giving back to something worthwhile."

For the last year and a half Mills, alongside volunteers, donors, and staff has been transforming the old Elizabeth Arden estate on the border of Rome and mount Vernon Maine.

"Sixty percent of our funds come from small organizations or small fundraisers throughout the state of Maine."

It's paradise rising for amputee combat veterans.

"Here, we bring the wives together, the husbands together and let them now hey, there's other people in your situation."

In just two months the retreat will be a place for the men and women who fought for our freedom

"Every little detail that's been put into this house I’ve been a part of. With the shower the bathrooms, how high the ceilings are the sinks are, how high the beds are set."

The first group of families arrive on independence day.

"Upstairs suites will be for bigger families and then we have four over here that hosts like three to four people and there's four of them and then we have two on the other side."

For seven weeks during the summer, eight families will call this home.

“We're going to push hard and we've got some really great companies who are coming together to really give it all we can."

Mills says, giving them a chance to live ‘the way life should be’.

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