SPC. Josh Keller – Testimonial Tuesday

SPC. Josh Keller

Introducing SPC. Josh Keller, who was injured in the states sustaining a gunshot wound to the throat. This gunshot ultimately led to destroying his carotid artery, left vertebral artery, and hitting his spinal cord causing him to become a C4 level quadriplegic. Josh and his girlfriend have attended the retreat twice where they stepped out of their comfort zone, made new friends, and relaxed with not a worry in the world. 

“Our time at the retreat was incredible. Kass and I went there with open minds and open hearts knowing that we were going to step out of our comfort zones and try some fun, new events. For the first time since my injury, my worries seemed to melt away. It was both freeing and eye-opening. We got to experience a powerful fellowship through a week of planned events and spontaneous experiences with some incredible men, women, and children. It was extremely easy to bond together because we were all there with similar goals: to relax, make connections, and have a good time while navigating the trials that come with disabilities together. However, none of our disabilities mattered. Everyone there had undergone different challenges be it physical or mental or both. It wasn’t just veteran helping veteran or spouse helping spouse. It was people helping people. I wasn’t Josh, the quadriplegic. I was just Josh.

The staff and volunteers went so far above and beyond at treating us to a week without worries or stress. I personally got to do things that I never thought would have been possible a year ago. It is honestly pretty hard to remember all of the things that we did simply because there was so much put together. The events were incredibly therapeutic and I came away from the retreat with a new mindset of ‘what isn’t possible?’. I certainly realized that there isn’t much that’s not obtainable when you have friends like the men and women that I got to meet. 

On the last day, we said our somber goodbyes as if we had known each other prior to this meet-up. 6 days felt like 6 months. I certainly hope that I get the chance to see everyone again and I cannot wait to apply to future retreats at the TMF grounds. I want to extend a huge thank you to everyone at the foundation. From the staff and employees that made everything so accommodating and therapeutic to the newfound friends that never thought twice about picking me up to get me to try something new or to hold my microphone so we could all sing karaoke together. And to Travis Mills for being a prime example of what it takes to push-on. Until next time everyone!”

– SPC. Josh Keller

Read more of SPC. Josh Keller’s story by visiting his blog here!

On December 21, 2014, Sgt. Tyler McGibbon was injured in a Humvee rollover heading back to camp in Kuwait. He sustained a traumatic brain injury from the rollover and consequently was in a coma for three months. In August of 2019, Sgt. McGibbon and his parents attended the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat for the first time.

“From the moment we learned about the Travis Mills Foundation, we could have never imagined this beautiful experience. We were welcomed at the airport by a wonderful woman named Meridith. The volunteers are all warm and smiling. The experiences the retreat offers are all on your own timetable: if you aren’t up for something you don’t have to do it. The staff of Kelly, Holly, and Chris were a real treasure. The relationships with other families that were formed by the fire pit made you feel like one big family. Volunteers get up at five in the morning to come here and make breakfast for all of the lucky families that get to stay here.  

P.S. our son’s service dog Trooper loved his vacation and made friends with both humans and other service dogs. A welcome mat was extended to him. Tell Gabby he hopes to see her soon along with her soldiers’ family.” – Sgt. Tyler McGibbon and Donna McGibbon