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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Family 'Respectfully Disagrees' With VA Report on Son's Suicide

From the Associated Press:

[Iraq vet Jonathan] Schulze had made at least 40 visits to the VA hospital in Minneapolis, where doctors diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder, the report said. But it said mental health workers at the St. Cloud hospital told investigators Schulze never mentioned suicide to them, and they would have taken it seriously if he had.

“The report and story has been whether something was, or was not, said,” [Family friend Robert] Herubin said. “The real issue is: Jonathan finally made the decision to change his life and get the help he needed. He made a commitment to become a good dad, and he packed his bags. Irregardless, he was put on a waiting list and was turned away.” ...

Schulze’s mother and stepfather, Eileen and John Carlson...said they’re now trying to move forward. They announced they have begun setting up the Jonathan Schulze “I Can’t Hear You” Foundation, using a favorite Marine phrase, to reach out to returning veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“So his death isn’t for nothing,” Eileen Carlson said. “I’m hoping that at least we will be able to help other people. I want to not only help other veterans, but I want to help their parents, too. Because I wish I would have had a better understanding of PTSD when I was going through this with Jonathan.” ... [Herubin] said the name of the foundation refers to the need to pay closer attention to what veterans might not be saying.

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Eric Satersmoen said he was best friends with Schulze when they fought in Fallujah in 2004. “Every day there was some type of combat. ... Basically it was a lot of urban warfare, door to door, losing a lot of friends, a lot of carnages, everyday war, I guess you would say,” Satersmoen said. Satersmoen said he, too, was diagnosed with PTSD and is getting counseling through the VA. He said he “most definitely” believes the foundation can make a difference.

Schulze’s family and friends also announced plans for a benefit for Schulze’s daughter, Kaley, and soon-to-be-born son, Jonathan Jr. It will be at the Prior Lake VFW on May 19.


Donations for Schulze’s children can be sent to “Kaley and Jonathan Schulze” while donations to the foundation can be sent to “Operation Jonny Schulze,” both in care of Wells Fargo Bank, 16817 Duluth St. SE, Prior Lake, MN 55372.

Wishing the Schulze family peace and commending them for the work they have now embarked upon.

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