The Travis Mills Foundation’s Miles for Mills Memorial Day 5K will be in-person and is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 29 in Brunswick. Courtesy photo

After being virtual for two years, the Travis Mills Foundation’s Miles for Mills 5K will be in-person for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The May 29 fundraiser takes place for the first time at Brunswick Landing, site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

“We are hitting the ground running this year,” Kelly Roseberry, chief operating officer of the Travis Mills Foundation said. “We resumed in-person programming last summer. We had to institute some additional safety precautions, but we are back to operating at full capacity. This event will be no different. We have changed locations so we can continue to make the event bigger and better. People are ready to be back in person at events, and we think this is a great one to start the summer.” 

The previous year’s route was in Augusta which posed an issue for some of the veterans because the course made mobility difficult for people with accessibility issues.

During the last race, the foundation raised $137,144. This year, their goal is to raise $200,000. However, so far, they have managed to raise $105,413.

Since its inception 11 years ago, the foundation has raised a total of $26 million.

The first Miles for Mills event was held less than two months after retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne was critically injured during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device in 2012. He lost portions of his legs and both arms when he unknowingly set his backpack down on an improvised explosive device. He spent more than a year and half at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center recovering before launching the foundation and retreat years later, according to the Portland Press Herald.


Travis Mills stands inside a lakeside building during a tour Wednesday at the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat in Rome. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“My motto, even before the war and before I was injured, was ‘never give up, never quit,'” Mills said. “That became even more important after I was injured. My main motivation was, is and always will be my family. My wife, Kelsey, my daughter, Chloe and my son, Dax.”

The motivational speaker, author and business owner added: “I could have chosen to live the rest of my life on the sidelines because of my injury but that’s not me. With the support of my family, I was able to establish the Travis Mills Foundation to support veterans like me. I just want to ensure that we all remember the reason why we recognize Memorial Day as a holiday is because of the brave men and women who lost their lives in service to our country.”

Roseberry echoed Mill’s sentiments.

“We are thrilled to be bringing our community back together for this special weekend,” she said. “Our community has continued to support our mission through the uncertainty of the last two years, and we are ecstatic to be able to bring them all together in honor of our heroes. We host this event annually to honor the lives of those service members who lost their lives serving our country. This is a deeply personal cause to our founder, our staff, our volunteers, and certainly our veteran families.”

Molly Lovell-Keely, communications and marketing manager of the Travis Mills Foundation illustrated the effects of the pandemic on the event. 

“Like the rest of the world, we were affected by the pandemic, ” she said. “One way it affected us was that we lost a lot of volunteers. A lot of them decided that they did not want to take the risk to be out in public among other people. So, that is definitely one way we were affected.” 

Keely added: “It wasn’t one of our most successful years in terms of fundraising, but we were happy that we didn’t lay off any employees during that time. People were still generous as they always have been to us. However, now that folks have bounced back, they are even more generous to our veterans and we appreciate that.”  

Donations made to the Travis Mills Foundation will go toward developing programs for U.S. veterans. Some of the funds will go toward golfing trips for the veterans and limited programs outside of Maine, including trips to the Georgia Aquarium where veterans get to swim with some sea creatures and dive with sharks. They are also developing a new Health and Wellness Center on their retreat property in Rome, Maine. It will include an indoor pool, massage rooms, industrial laundry room and mainstream workout equipment.

Registration for the event is $25 per person at T-shirts are available to the first 1,000 registrants. The event will include division awards, children’s activities, food trucks, a beer tent, military presentations and a display that honors the 84 Maine men and women who died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, standing right, chats with guests Wednesday at The Travis Mills Foundation breakfast to honor Maine’s Vietnam War-era veterans at the Augusta Armory. Mills, who was critically injured by an improvised explosive device in 2012, founded the nonprofit with his wife Kelsey to benefit and assist post-9/11 veterans who have been injured in active duty or as a result of their service. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.