LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) – An incredibly special and patriotic concert was held at the Lorain Palace Theater Wednesday night to benefit the Travis Mills Foundation.
RET. SSG Mills served three tours of duty with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan where he lost all four limbs by an improvised explosive device.
He is one of only five quadruple amputees to return from a war zone.
“I tell people I did nothing more heroic or brave. I did have an unfortunate day at work,” said Mills with a smile, “But at the same time, I’m so grateful to make it home considering a lot of my buddies didn’t.”
In 2013, Mills, his wife and two children started the foundation to help other veterans.
He says it started with gift boxes but has become a major operation that supports injured veterans and their families regain their lives. It’s helped over 600 families so far.
“We had this weird crazy idea and now it’s blossomed into one of the top 25 veterans service organizations in the nation,” said Mills.
Country music superstar John Rich, previously with the bands Lonestar and Big and Rich, performed on stage and said he was honored to participate in the event, especially on the U.S. Marine Corps birthday and the night before Veterans Day.
“Men and women who fight for this country are why we have a country, so when I was invited I said I’d love to be there and play music to celebrate this man’s service,” said Rich, “We have freedom because of those men and women who serve.”
The night was made possible with support from Dave Mortach, President and CEO of Mortach Financial who has been involved since meeting Mills several years ago.
“It’s the best run foundation I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Mortach. “We match up to a half million dollars in donations, and this is the second time we’ve done and so we expect to hit $2 million this year.”
Legendary Browns Quarterback Bernie Kosar took the stage on behalf of WTAM’s Mike Trivisonno who recently passed away and supported the cause as well as all veterans.
“You know Mike Trivisonno was such a big influence and why we’re here today, what we’ve done,” said Kosar, “I’m just so honored and humbled and just so blessed to be a part of this.”
Also during the show, the family of fallen U.S. Naval Corpsman Maxton Soviak was honored and received a large portrait drawing of their son.
The 22-year-old was killed during the attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“We can chase the American Dream because of guys like him,” said Rich.
On Thursday, 1,100 $100 raffle tickets will be sold on WTAM from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., also benefiting the foundation.
On Friday, Travis Mills will make a special appearance on FOX 8’s New Day Cleveland.
Mills says he is eternally grateful for the support, knowing that all of the money raised will literally change lives.
“To live life to the fullest and not on the sidelines,” said Mills.
To learn more about the foundation, go here.