U.S. Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL), with Chillicothean Donald Louis “Louie” Schmidt III at his side, is sticking to what he said in Chillicothe last Veteran’s Day.



“I said then, I think this is shameful,” Hare said at a press conference at American Legion Post 9 home Monday. “And I apologize to Louie again ...”


U.S. Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL), with Chillicothean Donald Louis “Louie” Schmidt III at his side, is sticking to what he said in Chillicothe last Veteran’s Day.

“I said then, I think this is shameful,” Hare said at a press conference at American Legion Post 9 home Monday. “And I apologize to Louie again ...”

The 24-year-old Army veteran served two tours in Iraq and was discharged in October 2006.

The day before he was discharged, however, he found out his diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder had been changed to a personality disorder, according to his mother, Patrice Semtner-Myers.

In November, Hare told Schmidt to send him his bill asking for repayment of his bonus with interest and penalties.

At the time, his bill was more than $15,000.

Since that time, Schmidt has not paid on the bill, and for the last six months has not received a bill.

Hare said it was time for the government to pay Schmidt the money it took from his last paycheck, about $4,000.

Additionally, Hare said he is traveling to Iraq Aug. 3 with the secretary of Veterans Affairs to expedite the check.

“Four thousand dollars to Louie is a lot of money,” said Hare. “And it’s his money. He re-enlisted voluntarily. This was his money. It never, ever, ever should have been taken away from him. If they wanted to appeal this, on their side of it, fine.”

His mother said the Army sent him home without money.

“If I wouldn’t have had my mom and dad and family to come back to, I would have been living on the streets,” said Schmidt.

Hare, who is a member of the House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs, said he thinks the Department of Defense came up with the personality disorder, which would be a pre-existing condition, to save an estimated $12.5 billion in veterans’ benefits.

Fast forward to Monday, Hare said legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate, putting a moratorium on personality disorder discharges, became “watered down.”

Hare said he will introduce legislation in the House “to do away with the word ‘moratorium’ and put an end to this once and for all — this practice of misdiagnosing people.”

He added, though, this session of Congress is running out. If it is not passed this session, he promised it would occur in the next session.

Hare also said someone should bear the responsibility for his actions in the personality disorder problem.

Like Schmidt, most, if not all, soldiers, were screened for a personality disorder while in the service, Hare said. Schmidt was screened four times.

The number of veterans thought to suffer from PTSD, but then labeled with a personality disorder, like Schmidt, are more than 22,000, Hare said.

After his discharge, Schmidt was told he was required to repay his re-enlistment bonus.
Semtner-Myers thanked Hare, who is not Chillicothe’s U.S. representative, for aiding her son and coming to Chillicothe.

“Our purpose here is to help all the veterans, to bring attention to all of them, not just Louie, because this has got to stop. And I urge you guys out there that hear this to call your state reps and get things changed ...” she said.

Hare also commented about a memo telling about more than 1,000 veterans per month attempting or committing suicide.

When asked about how they could assist veterans with this “epidemic,” Hare said officials were thinking of awareness programs with refrigerator magnets and advertising on the side of buses.

Hare said they at least needed hotlines manned by veterans.

“This kind of treatment of veterans there is no excuse for,” said Hare.

Hare said studies have shown the average soldier in Iraq has suffered as many as eight concussions, both minor and serious.

Schmidt is now receiving disability pay and is self-employed.