Quadruple amputee to speak at university

Nicole Hanson

On April 10, 2012, Staff Sergeant Travis Mills lost portions of all four limbs after being critically injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). Mills told his story in the film “Travis: A Soldier’s Story” and will come to Quinnipiac this Wednesday, Oct. 22 to answer questions about the many obstacles he’s faced as a quadruple amputee.

The Student Veterans Organization (SVO) is sponsoring two screenings of the documentary each followed by a question and answer session with Mills. The first showing will take place on the Mount Carmel campus at 5:30 p.m. and the second will be on the North Haven campus at 8 p.m.

President of SVO Matthew Bolton said the organization was inspired to bring Mills to Quinnipiac after the National Occupational Therapy Conference last year.

“One of the seniors last year went to the conference, saw him, loved him and wanted to bring him here,” Bolton said.

The senior, an occupational therapy major named Kelly Meara, pitched the idea to various professors in the program but no one had the funds to bring him to the university.

“Someone was like, ‘well why don’t you talk to Matt Bolton and the vets’ and we were all about it,” Bolton said. “She was really the main catalyst behind everything.”

According to the documentary’s official website, “Travis: A Soldier’s Story” shows both the physical and emotional challenges that Mills has faced as a quadruple amputee. Mills lives by the motto: “Never give up. Never quit.”

Public Relations Officer of SVO Emilio Dominguez said Mills is a strong man for surviving the IED attack and trying to live a normal life.

“As veterans, most of us have friends who have lost limbs or lost their lives, so to have Travis come here and surviving [with] all of [his] limbs blown off, I can’t even imagine,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez emphasized that the event is more for the general student population than it is for the veterans on campus.

“It’s to help you guys get an understanding of us,” he said. “We know where you’re coming from, and now this is an opportunity to see where we’re coming from.”

Like Dominguez, Bolton said the screening will help students put things into perspective.

“Everybody knows what a veteran is,” Bolton said. “Everybody knows that we go to war; everybody knows that we served our country and we’re here now; but people don’t really understand what that means. They can’t conceptualize what it means to go to war. But this will be a really good documentary and a really good visual and interpersonal experience that really hits home.”