WNEM TV5 had the privilege of speaking with Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, the young Vassar man wounded in an IED attack while serving in Afghanistan.
TV5 spoke with Mills via phone from his hospital bed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland.
When asked how he was doing, Mills replied that he's "doing good."
"[I'm] keeping my spirits up. I'm feeling good." Mills said.
He is slated to get a prosthetic arm next week and is doing a lot of physical therapy.
"I do a lot of exercise. I work on the muscles that were there, [because] that's how prosthetics are controlled. [I] go every day, and it just gets harder and harder," said the soldier with a laugh.
Mills, 25, was severely wounded by the explosion in April, and he is believed to be the fourth quadruple-amputee to ever survive that kind of blast in U.S. military history. It could be a year or more before Mills leaves Walter Reed.
Mills said he appreciates the outpouring of support from Vassar and surrounding communities.
"I can't thank everyone enough. It's overwhelming," he said. "My wife, my daughter, we are just . . . I do appreciate everything. Every night my wife and I, we get on [the Internet] and we see the comments people are leaving, and I just can't believe it."
"Life's hard, and this kind of stuff happens," replied Mills. "I've always been positive, I've always been motivated. I have to get better. I got a wife to take care of."
Mid-Michigan residents are helping raise money for the Mills family. Buffalo Wild Wings, located at 2690 Tittabawassee Rd. in Saginaw, held a "Travis Mills Day" on Wednesday. Several other local events are being held to help the family:
Mills benefit baseball game at Vassar High School on May 20
American Legion spaghetti dinner in Richville on May 27
Miles for Mills 5K Run in Augusta, ME, on May 28
Travis Mills T-shirts are available on niceshirts.org and at Vassar City Hall
Past fundraisers have included the Saginaw Sting honoring Mills on May 5, which raised $13,000; "Cutting Loose" for Travis at The Looking Glass Salon in Vassar on May 12; and the Sons of the American Legion Benefit Fish Fry in Mayville, MI, on May 4.
Meanwhile, two charities are teaming up to build Mills a "smart home." The home is filled with technology meant to give an amputee independence.
The specialty houses, which can cost between $750,000 and $1 million to build, offer everything needed to ease the burden on Mills and his family.
This smart home will be built wherever Mills wants his family to live, anywhere in America. While it can't possibly come close to replacing what Mills has lost, it can at least remind him how grateful the nation is for his service and his sacrifice.
As Mills recuperates, we encourage you to sign our guestbook by leaving a short message for Mills and his family.
If you are interested in learning more about the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, check out its website here. A website dedicated to Mills also has been set up here.
Copyright WNEM 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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