Travis Mills Foundation Ambassador, Chief Warrant Officer Two Anthony Cunningham, served 20 years and two months in the United States Army as a 921A Airdrop System Technician.
During his time in service, Anthony earned a Meritorious Service Medal, two Bronze Stars, three Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, the Army Superior Unit Award, three Army Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal with three Campaign Stars, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal (NATO).
SERVICE AND INJURIES
Anthony’s decision to serve in the Army was based on their slogan, “Be all you can be in the Army.”
“I always felt that the Army soldier was doing more effective things with their lives,” Anthony said. “The direction my life was going did not look productive and promising.”
With that – Anthony decided to join the Army to be all he could be. On January 11, 2017, Anthony was conducting a state-side pre-deployment free-fall operation when he lost all lift capabilities.
“I proceeded to hit the ground at about 25 miles per hour from about 40 feet [in the air],” Anthony said. Upon making ground contact, Anthony experienced a concussion, traumatic brain injury, compression between vertebrae C4, C5, and C6, and multiple fractures in both his right and left lower limbs. Anthony experienced struggles post-injury, including multiple surgeries to attempt to repair the injuries caused by the accident.
However, he had the support of his wife to encourage him.
“My wife was there [for me] every step of the way,” Anthony said. While he had his wife’s support, Anthony said it is hard for other family members and friends to understand the struggles he experiences on a daily basis truly.
TRAVIS MILLS FOUNDATION
Anthony and his wife attended the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat for the first time in February 2023. While enjoying the entire experience, Anthony said one of his favorite parts of the Retreat is the peace he feels being there. He describes it as a “total mind relax.”
“[It is a] stress-free environment with serene surroundings,” Anthony said. “[It is] a break from [my] everyday mind overload [and great] meeting peers and their families – connecting with them.”
Anthony has also attended the Miles for Mills 5K and the quarterly trip where TMF hosts participants and their families at the Georgia Aquarium.
“My time with [the TMF family] has been a very fun and learning experience. With this experience I have learned to take time for myself, which I found out is important. The Retreat has uplifted my life physically, emotionally, and my overall well being. The general attitude of all staff and volunteers has made me take a hard look at my attitude in life and has helped me to change and be happy everyday. I am blessed to have been a part. Thank you all.”
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 >>>