FORT KNOX, Ky. — Four wounded veterans stopped by Fort Knox Aug. 20-21 to share words encouragement with Soldiers and civilian employees at the Central Kentucky Army post.From a non-profit organization called Feherty’s Troops First Foundation, the veterans shared from their experiences some of the emotional tolls troops endure and ways they can help each other to combat them. Among the group was Medal of Honor recipient retired Master Sgt. Leroy Petry.“When I joined the military, the Army slogan was ‘Be All You Can Be.’ It was not for yourself but for the people to your right and to your left,” said Petry. “If you think about it like that — that you’re doing it for the people to your right and your left — you’ll know then when it’s right for you to take a knee, and go get the help that you need.”While serving in Afghanistan as a weapons squad leader with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Petry earned the Medal of Honor during a courtyard battle against combatants in the Paktya Province. He engaged the enemy and supported movement and protection of his fellow Soldiers, but not without a great cost to himself.Petry saw an enemy grenade come into this position and said he grabbed and tossed it. The grenade exploded shortly after he threw it, severing his right hand. He said he later discovered he had also been shot through both legs during the firefight.“This is what a lot of us call our new normal,” said Petry. “You’ll never get back to where you were, but you have to get to where you can function and feel like you’re still a part of this society.”One of the missions of the foundation is what they call Operation Warrior Call, which is brought the four veterans to Fort Knox.“Warrior Call is about suicide prevention; keeping contact with your battle buddies,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Capel, a member of the Senior Enlisted Advisory Board. “Look at your buddies in the eyes. Ask them if they’re okay. Check up on them. Make a phone call. Answer the phone when they call you and tell you they need help.“When you take that phone call, we want you to be honest.”Retired Cpl. Matt Bradford, U.S. Marine Corps, told the crowd he was just 20 years old in 2007 when an improvised explosive device blew up underneath him while walking on point during a patrol in Iraq.“Shrapnel went in both my eyes, my left leg was removed by the blast, my right leg was severely damaged; I had severe damage to my right hand — my small intestines, my bladder, my stomach,” said Bradford. “But if I hadn’t of looked down, the shrapnel would have gone through my throat and I wouldn’t be here today.”Bradford attributed his life being saved to his fellow Marines.“I woke up three weeks later in Bethesda, Maryland, and that’s when I realized what depression is like. ‘Why am I here and my buddies are still back there fighting?’” said Bradford. “I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I hated everybody. I didn’t want to talk to anybody who was willing to help me out.”Bradford said his determination to push people away proved no match for the determination of doctors, nurses and fellow patients at Bethesda determined to help him through his ordeal. One Marine in particular would visit him regularly to talk about anything and everything other than the military.“It made me realize that there’s something in this world for me,” said Bradford. “I’ve just got to get it together.”He later met and married his wife.Retired Master Sgt. Chris Corbin of 7th Special Forces Group also shared stories of his ordeal in and after combat. On his third tour and last mission before heading back home, he stepped on an improvised explosive device, losing both legs.“What we’re doing here and trying to be honest about some stuff and point out the elephant in the room,” said Corbin.The elephant, as Corbin explained, is the stigma of suicide. He compared it to talking about football.“How come we can watch game tapes of football teams and try to figure out a way to hopefully defeat that other football team, and it’s not a big thing,” said Corbin. “Yet, we seem to try and look the other way a lot of times, or we do the mandatory safety stand-down PowerPoint when someone in our unit has committed suicide?“We don’t actually really talk about it.”Petry explained that while it’s not necessarily enough to just talk about suicide, it’s a start in the right direction.“There’s no real way to measure success, but I know doing nothing is not going to help either,” said Petry. “Resiliency is harder to achieve if we do it alone.”Bradford said surrounding yourself with those you love and counting your blessings each and every day is another big step in the right direction.“I have the opportunity to tuck my daughter in every night, put her to sleep, and go to sleep next to my beautiful wife; and I have the opportunity to wake up the next day because of the way you’re protecting our freedom,” said Bradford. “If there’s anything I try to teach my kids every day, it’s to honor and appreciate the service of those who wear the uniform, whether in military or law enforcement.“You people selflessly give up your lives each and every day to protect us and make sure we’re free; I’m grateful for that.”