A Manchester native well known for running a charity for wounded combat veterans like himself will appear next week on a nationally televised game show featuring contestants with unique stories.
Travis Mills and his wife Kelsey will be appearing on “The Wall” Tuesday, May 16, on NBC. The show’s producers reached out to the couple because of the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit they have created that brings critically-injured combat veterans and first responders to Maine for outdoor activities.
(Above: Travis Mills, center, appears on the NBC game show "The Wall" along with his wife, Kelsey, left. Show host Chris Hardwick, right, looks on. Photo: NBC)
Mills, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant, was on his third tour in Afghanistan on April 10, 2012, when he was injured by an improvised explosive device. He lost most of all four of his limbs, and said he spent 13 months in the hospital learning how to use prosthetics.
“It’s a rough time when you get your arms and legs taken away,” he said. “You’ve got to relearn everything again.”
Despite his injuries, Mills has been determined to keep a positive attitude, saying, “I’m the same person that I was before the injury.”
Not only has he learned to walk again, but he also participates in extreme sports such as skiing and mountain biking. He takes the activities in stride, perhaps unsurprising given he trained as a paratrooper.
“I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie as it is,” he said.
It’s not just about the rush, though. Mills said his recovery has given him back the life he wanted to have with Kelsey and the couple’s two children.
He said he wants to use his own story to inspire others, and created the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit that helps veterans and first responders who have suffered similar injuries to adapt to outdoor activities.
“The life I thought I was going to have to live because of my injuries is nowhere near what I actually have to live. It made me realize that being able to do this stuff, it’s something I can do with my family,” he said. “I wanted to give that freedom and that adrenaline rush, but also that experience of having your loved one with you to people, and that’s where the foundation was kind of born.”
Mills said the game show’s producers learned of his foundation’s work and reached out to him and Kelsey with an invitation to be on the program. The show features contestants who have had unique experiences or accomplishments to share.
(Above: Kelsey Mills, center, gives a high-five to her husband, Travis Mills on the set of the NBC game show "The Wall" as host Chris Hardwick looks on. The Manchester couple run a charity to help wounded veterans and first responders. Photo: NBC)
According to the show’s website, this season includes “a Capitol Police officer who saved a congressman’s life, a retired public transportation supervisor who saved a man from an oncoming train and a young couple who has cleaned up over 100,000 pounds of trash from their community.”
The program features a part-electronic, part-mechanical wall that randomly determines prize money amounts, which contestants then try to win by answering questions.
Mills said the experience was “kinda wild.”
Mills’ foundation is available online at travismillsfoundation.org.