Get help, then help others

Published 10:16 pm Thursday, December 10, 2015

All these years after Vietnam, Americans are more aware of post-traumatic stress and its effects on our former warriors of any era who are back home.

However, it can still feel lonely when the people closest to you — your family — can’t begin to imagine the horrors you faced while in combat.

That’s why veterans connecting with veterans is especially important, whether it’s through formal or informal support groups or even the written word.

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Peace Foxx Jr., a New England native who now lives in Smithfield to be closer to his grandchildren, has self-published “Twice a Warrior.” The Vietnam veteran wrote the book to help others through relating his own experience with post-traumatic stress and his experience helping friends and comrades deal with life after war.

“The physical wounds are one thing, but the real big wound is the one to the soul,” Foxx told me earlier this week.

Foxx dealt with family problems, medical problems and addiction after he returned home, before he sought help. When he did find himself on the path to healing, he began trying to help other veterans but was re-traumatized when a veteran he knew was found dead of hypothermia. He and others in their group hadn’t known the man was homeless.

They tackled the homelessness problem by founding the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, which now houses about 350 veterans a night.

Foxx is providing a good model to follow for anyone who has suffered a traumatic event: Get help, then help others. Anyone who knows the special pain caused by things that not a lot of people experience — war, the death of a child, or the traumatic death of a loved one, to name a few — can benefit from this advice. Helping others can help us in the long run.

But helping others when we’ve also suffered isn’t always easy. Foxx continues to take things day by day. He said the book took him more than a year to write because of the flood of emotions. But he did it, and that’s the important part.

You can find the book at, or

Contact Foxx at