Heather Hemphill Submitted photo

ROME — The Travis Mills Foundation has appointed its Chief Financial Officer Heather Hemphill as its executive director. The foundation, which opened its doors in 2017, provides various programs to help recalibrated veterans and their families overcome physical and emotional obstacles, strengthen family bonds and enjoy much needed rest and relaxation at its retreat in the Belgrade Lakes region.

In her new role, Hemphill will oversee the day-to-day operations of the foundation and its programming, which includes week-long experiences on site in Maine for recalibrated veterans and their families to participate in adaptive sports, art and more. Recalibrated veterans experienced life-changing injuries while in service to country. The term was coined by founder Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, one of five surviving quadruple amputees from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. In April 2012, he set his backpack down on an IED during his third tour of Afghanistan, triggering an explosion. It cost him all four limbs but not his resilience or determination. He will continue to serve as president of the foundation he formed to support other recalibrated veterans facing similar challenges, according to a news release from the foundation.

Hemphill will lead the transition of the foundation’s veterans retreat from seasonal to year-round programming, because of the brand new, $7 million Health & Wellness Center that opened in September on time and on budget. The center will support even more recalibrated veterans from throughout the country on their recovery journey as it’s filled with equipment that they will learn to adapt to their injuries. The Health & Wellness Center includes mainstream fitness equipment, an indoor pool and massage space to help these heroes stay healthy beyond their visits to the retreat.

“Heather has been such an asset to the Travis Mills Foundation these last few years, bringing her financial and family background to build a culture of transparency and trust and ensuring that we maximize all of the generous donations that come our way,” said Mills. “I look forward to working side-by-side with Heather to support even more recalibrated veterans around the country, letting them know that they are not alone, and that we are here to help.”

Hemphill comes from the corporate, for-profit world of finance. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Southern New Hampshire University, she secured a job as a project accountant at TRC Companies Inc., an international consulting, engineering and construction management firm based in the U.S. Quickly rising through the ranks to become a financial analyst and learning all facets of project management, when the opportunity presented itself to join the foundation in 2019 as director of finance and administration, Hemphill leaped at the chance to immerse herself in the foundation.

Hemphill is the wife of a Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq and one in the Philippines between 2005 to 2010. Her family background, including her father and grandfather who served as Maine firefighters for about 25 and 50 years respectively, with her professional skills, have allowed her to not only thrive at the foundation but truly understand the needs of our nation’s heroes.

“I knew from the beginning that this wasn’t just a job; the Travis Mills Foundation has provided a true purpose and higher calling for me to lead such a stellar organization that does life changing work to support our nation’s recalibrated veterans,” said Hemphill. “I am honored by the confidence SSG Mills and his family have instilled in me to take the foundation to the next level, and I am ready to get to work.”

Hemphill and her husband have two children, Maverick and Marguerite, three dogs and three horses on their farm. Her love of horses will prove useful in her new role in overseeing the foundation’s services, which includes therapeutic equine programming for the organization’s program for post-traumatic stress, Warrior PATHH (Progressive & Alternative Training for Helping Heroes). When she’s not at the foundation or the farm, she’s following in her family’s footsteps as a volunteer member of the Vassalboro fire department.

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