Fort Hood Loses Its 'Hug Lady'
Elizabeth Laird gave out 500K hugs to soldiers deploying, returning home
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Suggested by jerrymac
Posted Dec 25, 2015 11:42 AM CST
Updated Dec 27, 2015 1:30 PM CST
Elizabeth Laird   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – Elizabeth Laird doled out an estimated half-million hugs to American troops at Fort Hood, sending them off to war with a reassuring embrace and welcoming them back home with those same open arms. She kept up those hugs—along the way becoming known as "the hug lady"—through a decade-long fight with the breast cancer that ultimately claimed her life on Christmas Eve at the age of 83, reports KWTX, and her kindness did not go unnoticed by the men and women she touched. A GoFundMe account with a goal of contributing $10,000 toward her medical care is currently overflowing with nearly $95,000 from more than 3,000 donors, who offered up well-wishes, demands to name Fort Hood's deployment center in her name, their thanks, and eventually, tributes:

  • From one staff sergeant: "I deployed three times and this nice woman greeted me each time. I looked forward to those hugs lol. Get well soon mama."
  • From one young mom: "I love her, I deployed teary eyed and scared (secretly) worried my almost two year old daughter would forget me, she whispered in my ear that everything would be OK, it meant the world to me. I wish I had millions to give her."
  • "Thank you for hugging my son Matt," wrote a soldier's mom. "It is more than likely the last hug he got when he left Fort Hood because he didn't return from Afghanistan. Thank you again and please get well!"