Travis Mills Foundation Ambassador First Sergeant (Retired) Matthew Sims served as a 68W Combat Medic soldier in the U.S. Army for 22 years.
During his time in service, Matthew earned the Legion of Merit, Soldier’s Medal, three Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Expert Field Medical Badge, and Combat Medical Badge.
Matthew joined the U.S. Army as he wanted to be a combat medic.
“I wanted to save lives on the battlefield,” Matthew said. “The Army allowed me to do that.”
During his tour to Iraq in 2005, Matthew was injured three separate times – being awarded three Purple Hearts. He was injured by an IED (improvised explosive device) blast, a sniper bullet, and a mortar attack.
From all three accidents, Matthew struggled with a broken neck, fractured skull, collapsed lung, fractured femur, and shrapnel wounds to his left leg.
“My main struggle [post-injury] was dealing with the severe amounts of pain and the addiction that came with taking so many pain medications,” Matthew said. “I am happy to say I no longer take controlled pain medications.”
While Matthew experienced many struggles along the way, he credits his family for where he is at today.
“Really, they just gave me love and a safe space to heal. It’s as simple as that.”
TRAVIS MILLS FOUNDATION
In February 2023, Matthew and his wife were invited to attend the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat.
While they were at the Retreat, Matthew and his wife were invited to participate in numerous activities such as dog sledding, snowshoeing, leather working, get a massage, and use the amenities in the Health and Wellness Center.
“My personal favorite was the dog sledding and snowshoeing,” Matthew said. “Overall, just the ability to relax and forget about life’s stress was great.”
Being able to take part in the Retreat, was beneficial for Matthew as he went home taking up new hobbies that can aid in his recovery.
“We have taken up biking and so far, we love it,” Matthew said. “We also purchased a pebble boat and take it out on the local lakes quite often.”
Stories, like Matthew’s, are beneficial to the TMF family, knowing that the experience him and his wife had at the Retreat has made an impact on their lives.
“It’s hard to put into words, but [going to the Retreat] feels like going home,” Matthew said. “The love and support that you feel from every single staff [member] and volunteer is amazing. Everything is accessible – the rooms, the activities, even the golf carts. Our time at TMF brought us closer together as a couple. Love, love, love the Travis Mills Foundation.”
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 >>>