Retired United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills lost all four limbs after he was injured in war, and on Friday he came to Columbia to talk about a movie made about his story and recovery
A non-profit organization is making a stop in Columbia to show "Travis: A Soldier's Story," a film about a quadruple amputee who overcame the odds.
Retired United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills woke up on his 25th birthday to learn he lost all four limbs from an improvised explosive device while serving in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's just one of five living quadruple amputees out of the millions who fought, but insists he's really quite ordinary.
"I'm not a sob story, I'm just a normal guy trying to make it. I'm a family man, a dad, I drive my daughter and my wife around," said Mills. "I put my legs on and then my pants, that's the only difference."
The film documents the nearly two years since Mills was injured when his daughter, Chloe, was only months old. He was given an estimated three-year hospital stay, but instead was officially released just 19 months later.
"My daughter's my biggest inspiration. I've got to teach her how to ride a bike, I've got to figure that one out. I'm still working on it, I think it involves running legs but I don't know yet," said Mills. "If she wants to learn how to pirouette or do a ballerina move and I have to learn it, I'll do it. Now it's just about living life as normal as I can and not making it me sitting on the sidelines."
When Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary heard of Mill's story, they knew he was the right one for their goal of getting more people involved in supporting our troops.
"We want to connect people with concrete, specific opportunities," said Academy of Leadership and Faith Coordinator Emily Silvola. "Ways that they can connect here in the Columbia community to support our military and veteran's communities."
The movie airs at the seminary beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, and producer Katie Norris says the feedback during the tour keeps them going.
"We're really seeing stories that people are sending to us saying 'thank you, this story inspired me to do this', or 'I showed this to my mom that's going through cancer and she had a better week this week because of that never give up, never quit attitude'," said Norris.
Despite adding the title movie star under his long list of accomplishments, Mills says he's just living life to the fullest.
"At the end of the day, I'm a regular person, I want to be treated as a regular person," said Mills.
Local veterans organizations will be set up after the film for those who are looking for ways to get involved, and Silvola hopes moviegoers will take advantage of volunteer opportunities.