The American Legion launches its “I Am Not a Number” national campaign to collect testimonies from veterans waiting long periods of time for VA health-care appointments and benefits decisions. More than 5,000 personal testimonials pour into National Headquarters, and their stories help launch the national System Worth Saving program. American Legion National Commander Ronald F. Conley of Pennsylvania schedules visits to interview directors, staff andf patients at VA medical centers on every stop of his year leading the nation’s largest veterans organization. His investigations illuminate a number of needs on VA health care that will frame the Legion’s legislative agenda for years to come. High demand for care and a lack of access to it is identified as a primary problem.

At this time, more than 300,000 veterans nationwide are waiting 30 days or longer for primary VA medical appointments, and the backlog of undecided VA disability claims is ebbing toward 1 million. The American Legion uses the voices of veterans from the campaign, along with others, to argue against closing VA medical centers through the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) report that identifies under-utilized VA property throughout the nation.