Volume 3, Number 32 - November 6, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Local hero returns home to Sublette County
U.S. Army Captain James "Jamie" Schmidt, injured in an explosion while serving his country in Iraq, returned to Sublette County late last Friday.
After five weeks in a Texas hospital, Schmidt said Monday he's "healing up really well."
Schmidt said he's working on his strength and endurance, and trying to increase the walking he does.
"I'm a lot further along than what anyone thought I would be five weeks ago," Schmidt said.
He wears compression garments on his hands and legs, from his hips to his ankles. Schmidt's shrapnel wounds and skin grafts are healing really well, he said.
With his hands badly burned in the explosion, Schmidt said he's working on his grip, spending time walking around opening and closing his fists.
"It's going to take a while to get it where it was," Schmidt said, but he's confident he'll get there.
Now that he's out of the hospital, he'll be doing physical therapy three times a week, going for a doctor's visit a few times a month, and a December trip back to Texas for a checkup.
The long stay in the hospital gave Schmidt plenty of time to watch media reports of the happenings in Iraq.
"I watch the news a lot," Schmidt said, adding that he believes a great deal of the criticism of our nation's role in Iraq is coming from negative news reporting.
The majority of the reporting is focused on the negative aspects, Schmidt said, with emphasis on wounded soldiers.
"That's a sad thing, but we're doing the right thing over there," Schmidt said. "We're making it safer for the people of Iraq and of that region, and for us in the long run."
Things have changed in the fighting in Iraq, Schmidt said. "Now we're fighting more than locals, local terrorists. A lot of other terrorist organizations have come in ... anyone with a grudge against the U.S.
"I'd much rather fight it on their soil than deal with it here," Schmidt said.
Schmidt is extremely grateful for the support shown to him and his family.
"I want to thank everybody," Schmidt said. "The support has been overwhelming. It's incredible. I don't think I could ever think of enough (to say).
"The letters over there, the cards in the hospital, the people that put together a fund for our family ... the donated meals, the prayers at home when I was over there and in the hospital, it makes a big difference," Schmidt said.
Welcome home, soldier. May your comrades return safely.
Delsa Allen Photo
Jamie Schmidt proudly shows off his new Examiner t-shirt after visiting at the Examiner office on Monday.
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