My wife Felicia and I stopped by the Murfreesboro Church Street Goodwill store yesterday. I often look through their large selection of used books. I ran across a copy of ‘Tough As They Come’ by retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne Division and decided to buy it. The book looked as though it had never been opened. I also bought a pair of Bixby relaxed fit khakis for $6–they’re $198 new and a Daniel Cremieux causal short for $5. That was roughly $300 worth of clothes for $12! My late WW11, Great Depression era father Sgt. Sam Sparks would be proud.
While serving in Afghanistan Sgt. Travis went through a horrible tragedy. On one of his routine patrols, he accidentally triggered an IED and ended up losing all four of his limbs. Travis is no doubt a true inspiration—especially in the often depressing times our country is in.
As I held up the book I looked through it and thought of my friend Marty Luffman. Marty suffered a bad wreck two years ago when a truck hit him head on. Unfortunately, Marty has faced his own battle without being able to walk. His situation hasn’t held him back from having a great attitude. Recently he told me he was looking for a car to help a family. To my surprise it was a an Egyptian family was escaped persecution from Egypt due to their Christian faith. The young lady Mo was shocked when Marty told her the late model Buick LaCrosse was her 16th birthday present. Mo exclaimed “I thought I was getting a puppy!”
Most people would have been totally crushed by such devastating events—not Marty or Travis. Nope—they both refused to let his circumstances define them
Travis showed this incredible willpower to not just survive—but thrive.
Incredibly, he’s one of only five quadruple amputees from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to actually make it through his injuries.
The road to recovery for Travis was no walk in the park. It was both physically and emotionally painful, but Travis faced every challenge head-on. He never lost sight of his love for his family, his passion for life, and his commitment to help and motivate others who might be facing their own tough times.
Travis is such a warrior that he even started the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit that supports veterans and their families in their times of trouble. He set up a retreat center in Maine called “The Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat,” where wounded veterans and their families can go to get the help and resources they need to rebuild their lives.
But wait, there’s more. Travis didn’t just sit around and feel sorry for himself. He’s out there traveling the whole country as a motivational speaker. He shares his incredible story of perseverance. We can all learn a lesson of perseverance. Travis discusses the importance of resilience, perseverance, and finding hope in even the smallest victories. His powerful message should reach all of us who have faced challenges. Everyone from military personnel, students, our elderly, and even our elected officials.
I’m reminded of the words of a local minister “You’re either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or heading into a storm. But remember… In all 3 seasons, God is in control & God is good.”
Touch As They Come has even turned into a major motion picture to spread his message of hope and triumph over adversity.
Travis is no doubt changing lives, extending his impact beyond the military community. He serves as a living reminder that life can be unpredictable, urging us to face it with strength and resilience. Through his foundation, book, and speeches, Travis builds a sense of community, encouraging support during tough times.
Ronald Reagan once said “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Travis Mills is a real-life hero who is helping someone. Our country could certainly use a few hero’s today. Travis is going beyond his sacrifice on the battlefield. He continues to transform the lives of many others, proving that with courage, determination, and a positive attitude, we can conquer any obstacle life throws at us.
We all face our own unique challenges. Challenges such as a cancer dianosis, loss of a child, a relative battling addiction or alcholism or like my friend Marty who is unable to walk (although he has been improving).
The Next time you face your own tough challenges, remember Travis Mills’ journey. Let it remind you of your inner strength and ability to inspire others. Life may be tough, but so are we!