Wounded U.S. war veteran debuts film Thursday in Chicago
BY GAVIN CROWELL Staff Reporter July 9, 2014 6:04PM
Updated: July 9, 2014 6:16PM
The story of Travis Mills is coming to Chicago. Mills, a retired United States Army Staff Sergeant of the Airborne, lost portions of both his arms and legs from an improvised explosive device (IED) while on 82nd patrol in Afghanistan in 2012. He has become one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive.
Mills’ story became the centerpiece for an award-winning documentary entitled “Travis: A Soldier’s Story,” featuring reenactments of the injury and interviews with people close to the injury itself.
The film will debut at AMC River East 21 on Thursday, July 10, featuring Mills as an honored guest.
The event will be hosted by Matt Steichen, president of Operation Warrior Wishes, whom Mills has impacted. Operation Warrior Wishes is a charity that gives unique life experiences to wounded American military veterans at NFL games. Steichen said that the film is an inspiration and encourages Chicagoans to come to the event. “The first time I saw this film, I knew that I wanted to go out and change the world,” Steichen said. “Travis could so easily feel sorry for himself, but instead he uses his situation as a platform to inspire others and really to change the world.”
Since returning home, Mills has become a motivational speaker, an actor, and an advocate for veterans and amputees. He described the day his life changed humbly, calling it “a normal day of work that turned ugly.”
“I still have my life,” Mills said. “And I can’t just give up. If I give up, I’m giving up on my family.”
Steichen described Mills as “one of the most inspirational people I have ever met,” pointing to his refusal to give up and the perpetually positive attitude Mills maintains.
While Steichen certainly hopes to sell out the 400-person theater he’s rented for the event, his goals are ultimately much larger than that. “It would mean everything to me if the theater is sold out. Every empty seat is a missed opportunity,” Steichen said. “But I don’t want to just sell out this theater. I want there to be a buzz across the city of Chicago, and I want his story to be told across the world. I think it deserves a spotlight at least across the U.S., knowing what he’s done for this country.”
The event, in Steichen’s mind, is not an opportunity to be squandered. “I promise you that you’ll leave the theater looking at your life in a different way,” Steichen said. “You’ll be motivated to live your life renewed, and change the world.”
Tickets can be purchased online only: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/chicago-screening-of-travis-a-soldiers-story-tickets-11884826837
All proceeds will go towards Mills’ nonprofit organization, The Travis Mills Foundation, which benefits and assists injured veterans.
Trailer of the documentary film:
Like them on Facebook at “Operation Warrior Wishes”
AMC River East 21: 322 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611