VA Voluntary Service at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan, was intrigued by the Human Hug Project and reached out to the founders to discuss ways they could potentially implement a Hug-A- Vet spin-off program at their facility.

IMAGE: A VA volunteer hugs a Veteran.The Human Hug Project, founded by three friends: Ian Michael, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Gino Greganti, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Erin Greganti, a Marine Corps wife who experienced war and its aftermath at home, were eager to lend a hand, or in this case, three pairs of arms.

During National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, the trio did just that, by helping the medical center start their own program by sharing their mission of bringing awareness to PTSD by giving love back to humanity, one hug at a time.

“We have all of these Veterans that are home, coming home, have been home for years walking around in pain and slowly starting to isolate themselves, “ said Michaels. “And we’re so busy with ourselves, we’re not realizing that people who’ve defended our freedom and our country are in pain and are hurting.”

The facility is now looking to build its own team of volunteers to share a hug with their Veterans.

Here’s a look at a previous event from the project’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

About the author: Carrie Seward is a public affairs officer with the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan. 

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Published on Feb. 14, 2018

Estimated reading time is 1.3 min.

Views to date: 114


  1. Ingrid Shotts February 26, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    I would love to hug my Vietnam Veteran, but he was killed due to Agent Orange!

  2. CHAD E CHILDERS February 20, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I have been to the VA several times and I haven’t been hugged by a cute girl. That would definitely change my opinion on the VA healthcare system. Bring this program to Jacksonville, FL and I will let you know when my next appointment is.

  3. Kathleen Melville-Hall February 16, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Tom, it is never too late. If all we do is cling to the slings and arrows, we lose. There is only one perfect person. We hung him on a tree. So the rest of us poor humans have to do what we can. One day at a time. Sometimes one lousy minute at a time. But Whether you are a Viet Nam Vet like my husband, or a gulf vet like me, as people we cannot stop trying.! So give a hug! Say thank you when some one says something kind to you. I remember in a twelve step program, they told me “Fake until you make it!” SO When I feel like it’s all poop, & I just want to quit or scream or smack someone… I ask my higher power for the ability to smile, give back a hug, and pass it on.
    Most important: It is in GIVING that we receive… so give to others. Too many kids today have NO idea about caring & affection. See what is happening in schools, churches & all the other places people are slaughtering people they don’t even know. Maybe the never even got their first hug. Reach out, Tom. Help dry someone else’s tear that they have buried We ALL benefit by hugs ALL our lives! , Tom, you’ve got a lot to give & each time you do, you’re a blessing! Like Glen Campbell sang “try a little kindness…” YES!.

  4. Bea Close February 16, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    How can one become involved with this. I have been a VA volunteer for 13 years.
    Also is the phrase registered, or can I use it as my motto next year as President of my organization?

  5. tom Vega February 16, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I am a Vietnam War Veteran. This is a great idea. However in lite of the scorn I experience after my tour in Vietnam it feels like too little too late for me.

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