Travis Mills Foundation Ambassador, Corporal (Retired) David Medina served in the U.S. Army as a 13F, Joint Fire Support Specialist for 9 years.
During his time in service, he earned the Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Campaign Star and had recognition from the late Four-Star General (Retired) Raymond T. Odierno. David also earned the Lifetime Achievement Award.
David chose to join the military as a way to follow his grandfather’s footsteps and served two tours to Iraq himself in defense of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“[As a joint fire support specialist] we penetrate enemy lines up to two miles deep, check out the spot, and take down all the inflammation and activity that’s going on,” David said. “All the movement. If the brigade wanted us to, we can blow stuff up from a distance.”
While on deployment, he experienced multiple IED (improvised explosive device) explosions while in a Stryker vehicle – once in November 2009 and a second time in February 2010.
In May 2013, David was placed in a medically induced coma due to strokes caused by brain injuries.
“It was the most stressful experience I’ve ever gone through,” Lymarie – David’s wife and caregiver said. “You never know if they’re going to come back.”
Due to David’s injuries, he sustained a MTBI, incomplete spinal cord injury, hearing loss, complicated neurological issues, muscular disorders, memory loss and post traumatic stress.
“[Due to the injury, I] cannot go for long walks, [am] unable to run, [experience] chronic pain, memory loss, cognitive issues, [and am] unable to control my mood,” David said.
David’s injuries quickly caused him to feel “lost.” He began to lean on his family and friends for support and encouragement throughout his recovery journey.
“They showed me how to do things differently and still enjoy life as much as I could,” he said. “They remind me every day of all I have to look forward to.”
TRAVIS MILLS FOUNDATION
In the summer of 2022, David and his family were invited to the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine.
“I think it was pretty good,” David said when asked about his experience. “I actually connected with a veteran there.”
While at the summer retreat, David and his family were able to take part in adapted activities such as fly tying and fishing, wheelchair basketball, and David’s favorite memory – watching his daughter learn to swim at the Retreat’s lakefront property on Long Pond.
“She wanted to be in the water,” David said. “She saw all her friends swimming and I realized that in the back of her head, she wanted to be with her friends – so she wanted to swim too.”
All on her own, David’s daughter began swimming short distances back and forth until she got the hang of it.
Also, at the Retreat, David was able to learn how to tie flies and go fly fishing for the first time since being recalibrated.
“It was the most amazing mental calmness. It truly soothed me.”
After taking part in the Summer Retreat, David and his family were also invited to take part in the trip to the Georgia Aquarium in November 2022.
“[The Retreat] is a place where I can let go and be worry-free. A true mental serenity and clarity,” David said.
David and Lymarie truly appreciated how amazing and kind the staff members and volunteers were at the Retreat.
“It is an experience I will never forget, and I am excited to go back!” David said.
ABOUT THE TRAVIS MILLS FOUNDATION
The Travis Mills Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports post 9/11 veterans who experienced life-changing injuries while in service to our country. The Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat offers our nation’s recalibrated veterans and their families a week-long, barrier free, all expenses-paid experience at its world-class retreat in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine. It offers various programs that help these brave men and women overcome physical and emotional obstacles, strengthen their families, and provide well-deserved rest and relaxation. The Foundation also offers Warrior PATHH (Progressive & Alternative Training for Helping Heroes) for combat veterans and first responders, the nation’s first of its kind program designed to cultivate and facilitate post-traumatic growth. Learn more >>>