LAS VEGAS -- While the nation prepares to recognize those who fought under the flag of freedom on Monday, it's also shedding light on a major backlog at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
At the new VA hospital in North Las Vegas, artists from the International Academy of Design and Technology spent Friday working on chalk art.
"It's mostly that I'm trying to give back to my fellow veterans," said Adam Consolini.
Consolini, a U.S. Army veteran, dedicated the display to America's heroes for Veterans Day.
Vets like Bill Dailey appreciate his work. "Anything for veterans and anything for our country is great," the Pahrump resident said.
Dailey is also one of nearly 50,000 veterans who have already been treated at the VA hospital since it opened last year.
"We're busting at the seams right now," said acting Associate Dir. John Stelsel. "The demand is up. We're almost running at capacity."
The state-of-the-art facility was the country's first VA hospital built since 1995.
With the country now ending a decade of war and with an aging veteran population, the VA said the backlog grew.
In and around Nevada, the VA said roughly 6,610 claims were pending, as of Nov. 2. Four-thousand of those were more than 125 days old and considered part of the backlog.
"We're going to get to the bottom of this and improve these opportunities for veterans in southern Nevada, period. It has to be done," said Sen. Dean Heller, R, of Nevada.
The delay has caught the eye of both parties.
"It's just been a nightmare for those who've given their all for our country," said Democratic Rep. Dina Titus.
So, while the chalk may fade, the VA said our unwavering support for veterans cannot. To help address the problem, the VA said they plan to build a paperless digital disability claims system.
That system is expected to be in place by 2015 and should have all claims completed within 125 days.
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