Tucked away in one of the numerous pdbmagazine.com articles this last month is a heroic look at someone who sacrificed so much for the United States getting to live out his American Dream. It just so happens for Bronze Star recipient, Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, that dream included a pontoon boat. He said he remembered waking up in the hospital after an IED had exploded during his 3rd tour in Afghanistan, with no arms or legs. The exact words out of his mouth were “I want double stuffed Oreos, pineapple juice and I’m going to buy a double-decker pontoon boat to pull us all around Higgins Lake on a tube.” He had never even owned a boat before but suddenly that is what he knew he wanted. He used that as one of his motivators for almost 2 years of rehab.
After rehab, he was in a position to boat shop. He started going to local boat shows to learn what he wanted. The double-decker Avalon seemed to be the perfect fit. When he finally settled on it and went to get it at the local dealer he missed it by only a few minutes. Someone else had decided they just couldn’t live without it. In the long run, it worked out much better because he got to purchase an Avalon LSZ 2685 Cruise model which had most of the exact amazing features including the layout. It had the Art-Deco design, the only thing it lacked was the top deck. Its Retro looks of the Cadet drivers stand hearkens back to the muscle car days and provides a fun driving experience. It also has a powerful Millenia Bluetooth stereo, & speakers, tilt steering, soft Pillow top drivers chair and comfortable lounge seating with flip up storage compartments. Staff Sergeant Mills doesn’t regret his time in the army and would actually prefer to still be serving, rather than retired due to the IED. But to put a positive spin on it, at least he can be on the water more than most other boat owners.
Staff Sergeant Mills has become a motivational speaker these days. So many are eager to hear his story which is truly inspirational. He grew up in Michigan and admits to the fact that Avalon boats are built in his Hometown state, which somewhat factored into his decision to buy one. However, it was only part of what he considered. Sergeant Mills took plenty of time to do his research and for him the priority was quality. He purchased the Avalon from his local dealer and has gotten to be friends with many of the staff there. He only had to have a few modifications made in order to accommodate his disability. He needed an elevated stand next to the helm with the digital throttle controls raised to be able to reach them. The first summer he had the boat he had to stay on board and cook because it was to hard to get back in the boat once he learned to swim in the water without his arms and legs. Thanks to his local dealer a hoist was installed thanks to the dealers ingenuity.
Although Sergeant Mills has plenty of obstacles to overcome, regularly, he now has a hobby he and his family can do together, thanks to his new Avalon LSZ Cruise pontoon boat. There are plenty of things he cannot do with them, but now he can go tubing, boating and fishing with them. His boating experience actually motivated him to start a non-profit organization in order to help other disabled veterans realize there is still plenty of life worth living, despite their handicaps. He brings veterans and their families to Maine where he shows them first hand how life can still be lived to its fullest. The boat helps with giving them confidence and independence. For the ones that bring kids, it gives them a way to have fun and play together. If you would like to contribute to helping his non-profit it is called “The Travis Mills Foundation” and has raised 2.7 million dollars so far to help wounded veterans start living life again.
To read the full article in PDBmagazine.com……………..Click Here