She had given them over half a million hugs…
Since 2003, Elizabeth Laird has made it her mission to hug soldiers as they deploy and return to Fort Hood/III Corp Installation.
Affectionately known as the “Hug Lady,” the 83-year-old has developed a band of loving followers over the years as she goes to the airport to pay her respects to each military member with a warm embrace.She’s even got her own Facebook page.
It’s a small act, but it’s had massive impact.
Over the 12-year span, the local hero has actually given over half a million hugs. The troops had come to expect her.
But then one day, she wasn’t there…
What many didn’t know is that Elizabeth has hadbreast cancer for the last 11 years. Recently, she’s been admitted to the intensive care unit as she fights yet another round in her cancer battle.
Even though she’s been at war with her own health battle over the last decade, she’s still made it her goal to send off and welcome home our brave troops. And so they wanted to return the favor.
Because she couldn’t come to them, the men and women of Fort Hood are coming to Elizabeth, giving her the warmest bedside hugs in return for the thousands she’s handed out over the years.
“It brings a little life to you that somebody actually cares enough to love you. And a complete stranger at that,” said one of the visiting soldiers.
It would be my honor to give her a hug in her time of need, Staff Sgt. Jarvez Wilkes told NBC. I made it my business to get down here and show her a little love because shes shown me plenty of love.
In addition to the hugs, the troops have collectively helped raise more than $80,000 for Elizabeth’s medical expenses in less than a week.
In response to the amazing kindness, her son Richard Dewees said, The outpouring of people, the comments coming in, its amazing. Shes touched this many people in that way with just a simple hug.
If you’d like to help with Elizabeth’sexpenses too, you candonate to her GoFundMe page here. Or just spread a little “Hug Lady” love by sharing her amazing story.
If you liked this post, you’ll also love our story on the “grandma in the window.”