Awe-inspiring soldier taking first steps as a quadruple amputee

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 27 at 11:29 PM

DALLAS - There's a new piece of video on his Facebook page every few days. And every video inspires.

What was posted Friday showed Travis Mills walking a track, with a backpack strapped to him, a chain and weight trailing behind him.

He was walking on prosthetic legs. He has prosthetic arms, too.

"They gave me legs and arms to use, so why not use them and make the best of the situation I'm in?" he said, from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills lost all four limbs to an IED in Afghanistan on April 10.

We were lucky to talk with him via Skype just a couple hours after one of his intense daily workouts. But truly, all of America is lucky because he served.

"I don't see me that way," Mills said, modestly.

Mills isn't from Texas, but his wife is. She grew up in Frisco, so people across North Texas are holding fundraisers for their family. Rick Turner organized one for Saturday.

"It's gonna be big," said Turner, smiling while sitting on his Harley-Davidson.

Turner is former military, and now he's a biker. He and his wife, Tancy, planned a ride for Saturday morning, posted it on Facebook and word spread fast. They expected to raise a couple thousand dollars.

They underestimated everything. They now expect a thousand people to attend.

The ride begins at Strokers in Dallas at 10 a.m. It will end at American Legion Post 8, in Lake Dallas.

Tancy Turner hopes the Mills family can feel the support.

"We want him to know, and the family to know that we appreciate him and the families behind all the soldiers," she said.

"It's become way, way more than we envisioned," Rick Turner said.

Thirteen years ago, he was the one in a hospital bed. He was shot while serving with the U.S. Army in Panama.

He was in the 82nd Airborne division, just like Sgt. Mills.

"What gets me through," Mills explained, pausing, "I'm doing this because my daughter wouldn't give up on me. She's really young, and I wouldn't give up on her. Or anybody else, of course, because there's a whole country and a nation is behind me."

Mills said he wants to learn to play softball, or even take up ballet.

"If my daughter wants to do ballet, I told my daughters I better be able to do a pirouette if she wants to," Mills said.

Then he lifted his arms above his head and laughed.

"I know the blood that feeds Travis's veins, being a combat veteran myself," Rick Turner said. "I knew I had to do something."

It is blood of bravery, strength and sacrifice. The blood of an American soldier.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

 

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