hugladywait“I’m there right now … I just put some soldiers on a plane.”

If you thought that’s a swashbuckling general talking about deploying his platoon, you are erringly off the mark. Elizabeth Laird, the woman behind the words, is a tender and spirited 82-year-old Air Force Veteran, fondly known as “The Hug Lady.”

For the Fort Hood troops, she is a tonic to their anxious – at times, weary – spirits.

huglady2To say that she is imprinted on the minds of every soldier in Ft. Hood sounds extreme, but is nonetheless true. She is the last person they see before they are deployed to the battlefield, and hers are the first arms that embrace them when they return. Laird is there to hug each one of them, unfailingly, every single time.

The Army circle is filled with her stories, as soldiers recollect the first time they met Laird and how they were smitten by her unflinching warmth.

“All I can figure is that one day a soldier hugged me and there was another soldier standing there. Well, he hugged me and it just kind of steamrolled,” Laird said, when asked how it started. She doesn’t work by the clock, either: It may be in the middle of the night that a group is on its way back to Fort Hood, but the soldiers can pretty much count on her to be there.

An act that outsizes the adjective, noble, hugging soldiers goes beyond the sentimentality of it all.

“My purpose is to tell them the Lord will protect them if they ask him. I give them the 91st psalm, the soldier’s psalm, and if there’s no chaplain, I’ll pray for them,” Laird explained.

Bringing smiles to soldiers’ faces has been the motivation, as she wants to give them an uplifting reminder they are cared for, and that their sacrifices and the daily grind they have to endure are fully recognized.hugladyhug

Laird witnessed to the horrors of World War II, which is when the seeds of serving her nation were planted. Married one time to a Marine, she later chose an entirely unique path to serve her nation. The soldiers are like a family to her and she is often invited for the dining and get-togethers at the Fort Hood facilities.

“I want every one of them to come home.” Laird said, overwhelmed by emotion every time soldiers leave for war.

Maria-M-bw-frMaria, a blogger by profession, has her roots in Army. While her job dictates writing on technology, she grabs every chance coming her way to go back to her roots. Maria works for Web Development Company – Xicom Technologies and can be reached on Twitter at: @mariamincey64


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Published on Mar. 10, 2014

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 139


  1. Leigh Buck March 28, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Touched. Any suggestions for supporting this type of effort in eastern NC? Anyone aware of where to look in eastern NC to see if something like this is here?

  2. maggie March 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I am just so thankful to the Hug Lady. My son has had 5 deployments and It is so nice for them to have a sweet smiling face to welcome them home as well as on their deployments.
    My son thinks she is so very special.

  3. Tit March 24, 2014 at 11:05 am

    It’s great,happy. No words can describe now. Welcome to home!

  4. Debbie March 12, 2014 at 3:40 am

    May we all be found to be “hug” ladies or men for our soldiers. Send them off with a hug, give a word of encouragement, pray for them and teady to welcome them home with a hug and thank you for serving!

  5. shonal March 12, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Poignant ….. and inspirational

  6. Adrine Adams March 10, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    After you get to be a President’s wife, then you pass judgment on what one should do.

  7. Adrine Adams March 10, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    What us your heart full of….?

  8. d March 10, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Could you imagine the presidents wife coming up with an idea like that? I think not!!; she brings the “UG” in ugly to a whole new level. Thank God for all of our Military Veterans especially this wise & greatful little Angel with a heart full of Love. God Bless her

    • Adrine Adams March 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Do you have a spouse, parent, or sibling who can do the same? Did any U.S. President do it? Why you delegate this President’s wife?

  9. Ana Cuebas March 10, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    God knows how many lives she saved. A lot soldiers are in a depressive downward spiral when they return home, no one standing at the reception area. Same thing when leaving. May God bless Ms. Laird. Let’s keep her in mind should she need us. How about that!

    • Jane Horton-Leasman March 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      God Bless her, and all of our wonderful troops. You are always in all of our hearts.
      Ft. Hood should still be called a callous TERRORIST ATTACK!!!

  10. Michael March 10, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Touched and pulled at my heart string’s I couldn’t help myself I cried like a baby

  11. AMSC (AW Carlton Huckaby USN RET March 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for the love. May God bless you with all my heart USN forever:

Comments are closed.

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