A war hero who lost all of his limbs in the War on Terror moved into his new “smart home” in Manchester Wednesday. It’s a day that’s been a long time in the making for Travis Mills and his family.
It’s been more than 2 years since Mills, a retired Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, nearly lost his life while serving in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device cost him his arms and legs. Mills was weapons squad leader with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and was serving his third tour of duty when he was critically injured.
“Well you can look at it two ways. You can be very upset about what happened and kind of not get over it. But I have a wife, I have a beautiful little 3-year-old who’s my best friend and there’s guys who didn’t make it back home. Guys who will never make it back home who would love to have my situation,” Mills said.
While Mills was recovering from his injuries he was approached by representatives from the Gary Sinise Foundation. According to their website, the Gary Sinise Foundation serves “our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.” They’ve built 18 “smart homes” homes to date for veterans who were severely wounded in combat. By the end of the year, that number will swell to 30.
Wednesday, thanks to the efforts of the Gary Sinise Foundation and it’s partners, Mills, his wife Kelsey and daughter Chloe walked in to their new “smart home.” A home that’s run from an Ipad and features an elevator, special cabinets and a variety of other amenities that allow Mills to recapture his independence.
“It means we have stability, a place to call home,” Kelsey Mills said. “We’re in hotel rooms a lot. We’ve been traveling around a lot.”
At an emotional dedication ceremony attended by Governor LePage and First Lady Ann LePage, Mills shared a moment he had with his daughter earlier this week when they realized their new home was finally a reality.
“I said ‘no Chloe, we’re not going to our house in Maine’. Because all the time it was being built we were living all over the place. Michigan, Texas down the road here so it was always out house in Maine. And I just said ‘we’re going to our house. We’re going to our home’.”