A delegation of Legionnaires treated patients at the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis to gift cards, clothes and other comfort items on Aug. 27, during The American Legion's 94th Annual National Convention.
The visit was part of the Legion's ongoing Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW)  efforts to provide recovering warriors with items that make their hospital stays more comfortable. To date, OCW has received nearly $1 million in donations, according to John Raughter, the Legion's communications director.
"We know that many of our servicemembers and returning veterans spend a long time recovering from their wounds at Roudebush and other VA medical centers across the country," said Jacob Gadd, the Legion's deputy director of health. "So we try to make their stay a little easier with things the federal government can't provide them."
Among items handed out to patients at Roudebush were Amazon.com gift cards, toiletries and clothes. Gadd explained that OCW's efforts fall in line with patient-centered care being promoted at Roudebush and other VA facilities.
"Regaining good health is, of course, a key goal," Gadd said. "But the medical staff at Roudebush also pay attention to a patient's other needs — emotional, social and making their immediate environment more comfortable. That's an area where we can help."
Through OCW, the Legion contacts officials at military hospitals, warrior transition units and surrounding communities, determining which comfort items are needed by wounded, injured or ill servicemembers. Once a need is identified, items are ordered by the Legion and delivered quickly to the troops.
All of OCW's administrative and marketing costs are paid for by the Legion's general fund, meaning that 100 percent of donated funds go directly to purchasing comfort items for patients.
The Roudebush facility has nearly 160 beds with more than 100 doctors and 550 registered nurses on its full-time medical staff. Annually, the hospital handles more than 1,000 surgeries, 11,000 emergency room visits and 500,000 outpatient visits.