Travis Mills answers to many things: father, husband, Afghanistan War veteran and daredevil, to name a few.
But one category this retired staff sergeant who lost all four limbs while serving refuses to be filed under is "victim."
"I'm not a victim, Mike," Mills recently told Mike Rowe, the former host of "Dirty Jobs." "And I refuse to be portrayed that way. Case closed."
Rowe was so moved by the impromptu interaction the two shared a few weeks ago at the Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., that the television personality shared the story on Facebook on Memorial Day, in an emotional post that collected nearly 200,000 likes.
While Rowe’s post gives a glimpse into the struggles and resilience of Mills, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
In 2012, Mills was critically injured after stepping on an improvised explosive device during his third tour in Afghanistan while on patrol duty, according to his website.
While Mills was initially "worried" about what his life would look like after he got out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he said in a new documentary, the determined vet continues to meet and raise the bar for his personal goals.
Mills is one of just five quadruple amputees of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to survive such injuries, according to the film, and he’s living proof of just how much people with disabilities can accomplish.
Just a little over a month after getting injured, Mills stood for the first time, Fox News Insider reported back in 2012. The 26-year-old continues to get stronger and push his physical limits. He snowboards, does downhill biking and recently jumped from a plane, according to CNN.
One of his main points of focus right now is building up the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit that helps injured veterans and their families. He hopes to buy a camp in Maine where wounded vets can partake in adaptive sports.
It’s his foundation, his wife and young daughter and the servicemen with whom he went to combat that keep Mills motivated to keep looking forward.
"I put personal friends in body bags. They’re not here. I am," Mills told CNN. "How selfish would it be if I gave up?"
Find out how you can get involved in helping to get injured veterans active again by supporting the Travis Mills Foundation here.
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