When Jake and Lisa Murphy met Travis Mills at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, they had no idea what laid ahead regarding a Foundation for veterans or that they’d be one of the inaugural families to attend the retreat he’d eventually establish.
Out of high school, Jake attended West Point and then served our country for four years in the Army. On a deployment in Kandahar Jake stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED), shortly before Travis’s accident. Jake lost his leg in the explosion and came to know Travis as they worked out in the gym together at Walter Reed.
When Jake and his wife, Lisa, were asked if they wanted to be part of programming before the first summer of the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat, they eagerly agreed. They scheduled their week-long visit in 2017 to be at the same time that two of Jake’s classmates from West Point would be there, and who also deployed together.
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Jake, Lisa, and the kids traveled to Maine from Texas and enjoyed their trip so much that they came back this past summer for a week in July. Now that the kids are older, they were able to participate in more activities, including tubing and boating.
Lisa said that as the mom of the family, it was nice for her not to have to worry about meal preparation, schedules, or even a simple task like gathering enough towels for the family to go swimming.
“Everything was taken care of for us,” she added. “It allowed us to just enjoy being with each other and getting together with other families.”
Both appreciated all the activities available for them to take part in, but they were also happy to have the freedom to relax. They welcomed having safe spaces for their active children to play and socialize. From the basketball court to the playground and movie theater and toy room, Jake and Lisa knew their children were safe, no matter what they were doing on retreat grounds.
Bonding is also a factor for why Jake and Lisa would like to continue to visit the retreat.
“No matter how different people are, there’s a common ground,” she said. “Depending on where you live, you don’t run into a lot of other veteran families.”
What were Nolan and Lilah’s favorite part of the retreat?
“The speedboat!” Lilah said.
For Nolan, it was spending time with his friends, other children of recalibrated veterans.
“It was like being with family,” Lisa said.
The Travis Mills Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports post-911 veterans who experienced life changing injuries while in service to our country. We offer our nation’s recalibrated veterans and their families a week-long, barrier free, all expenses paid experience at our world-class retreat in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine. We offer various programs that help these brave men and women overcome physical and emotional obstacles, strengthen their families, and provide well-deserved rest and relaxation.