Wounded warriors from around the country are traveling to Maine this week for a new vacation retreat for combat-injured veterans and their families.
The Travis Mills Veterans Retreat opens this Sunday in Rome at the historic Elizabeth Arden estate.
The retreat's founder, Travis Mills, is a quadruple amputee who survived an explosion in Afghanistan five years ago.
"When I had to go through my recovery, having my daughter and wife with me was probably the real reason I was able to get better, and do so well," said Mills.
That's why he designed the retreat to have space for veterans and their families. Each family will have an ADA-compliant suite, and be able to enjoy adaptive activities together: from kayaking, to fishing, equine therapy, painting, and martial arts.
"We want them to know not to live life on the sidelines," said Mills. "That their family members can see them succeed, and do activities with them."
The retreat will be open for seven weeks this summer and host 56 families. Mills hopes the veterans and families will create bonds, and a supportive network.
It took more than $2 million to upgrade and renovate the Arden estate, and the foundation provides services free of charge to the veterans and families. Mills hopes to expand programming in the years to come -- and says small donations from around the nation have helped get them this far.
"We're able to give back to these families that have sacrificed so much," said Mills.