In May 2021, Jack Allen began volunteering at the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat with his dad, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Patrick Allen and mom Shirley.
On June 9, 2023, Jack graduated high school from Erskine Academy; earlier in the year, he had his senior pictures taken at a place that has been very meaningful to him – the property at the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat where he volunteers.
Shirley heard about TMF in 2016 on the news upon moving to Maine.
“We had been wanting to volunteer [with TMF]. It is just such a special [Foundation],” Shirley said.
Patrick served 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps taking their family all around the country with different permanent change of stations (PCSs). Jack finds a deeper connection between himself and the children at the Travis Mills Foundation.
“It’s kind of cool to see people from all across the country that have something in common with you,” Jack said. “I’m really glad I was raised in a military family because I am more organized and know how to do hard work.”
When it came time for Jack to take his high school senior photos, he decided that the TMF Veterans Retreat is the place that holds the most meaning to him.
“The most obvious reason is it is a beautiful [Retreat],” Jack said.
Jack also wanted to help share the message of the Foundation by having his photos taken at the Retreat.
“It is a great conversation starter. [When someone asks], I could have an opportunity to tell people about SSG (Ret.) Travis Mills.”
Sharing the story of Travis Mills and the Foundation is something that is extremely important to Jack and something that he hopes to convey through his photos.
“I got to meet Travis a few times,” Jack said. “At this point, I just say ‘Hi’ to him and he knows me by name and noticed when I got my braces off. That’s really special to have a kind of friendship with someone who is amazing.”
After Jack’s graduation, he has two different ambitions. One being in the field of cyber-security and the other being woodworking.
“Cybercrime – someone I know was scammed at one point and I wanted to get back at them. I found out I can do that now. With woodworking, I took a woodworking class and I really enjoyed it.”
Due to his volunteering at TMF, Jack has decided to mix his desire for helping others with his love for the outdoors. He will attend Washington County Community College in the fall to pursue a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership Therapy.
Jack plays down all he does for TMF and describes each shift as “a couple hours of honest work.”
The mission and message of the Foundation, however, is not lost on Jack.
“The reason I do it all is because I may not even be alive if it weren’t for all of these people and their sacrifices.”
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 >>>