"If you have an opportunity to hang out with heroes, you should take advantage of that," says the singer, who is headlining a Veteran's Day concert

By Eileen Finan
Updated November 11, 2015 01:30 PM
Mike Coppola/Getty

When Trace Adkins sings tonight at a Veteran’s Day fundraiser, he’s sure to get a few pats on the back and “attaboys” for donating his time to the troops, but the singer says you can hold the gratitude.

“It is a little bit of a selfish endeavor on my part,” Adkins tells PEOPLE of his involvement with the Vets Rock event at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. The show benefits Til Duty is Done, a group that helps vets find housing and jobs. “If you have an opportunity to hang out with heroes, you should take advantage of that. Maybe some of it will rub off on you.”

As a spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project and a performer on several USO tours, Adkins is no stranger to spending time with the troops. “I’m all in whenever a veterans’ organization calls,” he says. “You come back home with your heart just swelling. They always give you more than you give them.”

That connection became especially meaningful last year when the singer faced his own challenges, including spending time in rehab, losing his father and going through a divorce.

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“Especially dealing with the Wounded Warrior Project, you look at your own problems and go, ‘You know, it’s really not that bad,'” says Adkins, 53. “These guys have to exhibit incredible courage every day to face the rehabilitation challenges that they are faced with so it puts things in perspective for me.”

The singer, who will have a new album out next year, says his own road to recovery is looking up.

“I’m on a good path today. I know that’s kind of standard AA speak but I’m good. I’ll do the best I can and hopefully tomorrow will be better,” he says. “I’m just keeping my nose to the grindstone and getting up there every day and doing what I need to do. I just keep on trying to be the best man I can be every day.”