What started as a dream for Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, his wife Kelsey and the Travis Mills Foundation three years ago, has become reality. On June 25, the doors of the Travis Mills Foundation’s Maine Chance Lodge Veterans Retreat in Rome, Maine, opened to the public for tours. Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne is a recalibrated warrior, motivational speaker, actor, author and advocate for veterans and amputees. Travis is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries.

Situated in the Belgrade Lakes Region, the retreat was built in 1929 by cosmetic pioneer Elizabeth Arden. Designed for amputees, it now is a retreat for our nation’s bravest and their families. This summer, 56 wounded veterans and their families will stay at this retreat, which includes a handicapped-accessible lodge, lake access, kayaks, bicycles, paddle boards, a movie theater, children’s play space and other amenities.

The veterans who will be staying at the retreat have lost limbs in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. The retreat will provide, at no cost to the veterans, a week-long stay to relax and be with other veterans going through similar recoveries. For more information, please visit travismills.org.

Recognition event for Vietnam vets

Camden American Legion Post 30 hosted 55 Vietnam veterans and their families at the Rockport Masonic Center June 24 to welcome the vets home and recognize them for their service. Adria Horn, director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services, presented each of them, on behalf of a grateful state of Maine, certificates of appreciation for their military service, a commemorative coin and a lapel pin. During the event, I had the opportunity to present an Honor Flight Maine and Women In Military Service For America Memorial. Thank you to the Masonic Center for preparing a wonderful lunch for our veterans and family members.

Gold Star fundraiser at Red Barn

The Maine Fallen Heroes Foundation is excited to partner with the Red Barn to help raise much-needed funds for our Gold Star families in Maine. The event is on Monday, July 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Red Barn located at 455 Riverside Drive, Augusta, with 100 percent of all donations going to the families of our fallen heroes.

A nonprofit organization, the Maine Fallen Heroes Foundation supports Gold Star family members who have lost a loved one during combat or due to accidents or illness during active duty or reserve military service. This foundation is one of the only organizations in the state that financially supports the families of our fallen military heroes. This support system helps those in need with things that government benefits don’t cover. For more information, please visit mainefallenheroes.org

Joy Asuncion is a Maine Troop Greeter and Maine State Ambassador for the Women in Military Service For America Memorial. You can reach Joy at joyasuncion@roadrunner.com or 930-5640.