Known as the “Hug Lady” around Fort Hood, Texas, the 83-year-old has made it her mission to hug every service member leaving for war or coming home from deployment. For 12 years she’s been a fixture at the airport whenever planes are arriving or departing filled with troops.
Her routine was disrupted this fall when the breast cancer she’s been fighting since 2005 finally sent her to the hospital.
When word of her illness got out, the Metroplex Hospital in Killeen, Texas was suddenly invaded with service members storming in to hug Laird and to let her know they have her back in the fight against cancer.
They’ve also donated much of the nearly $93,000 raised in a GoFundMe campaign to cover any of the co-pays or deductibles from the “Hug Lady’s” medical bills.
Laird was released from the hospital November 20, and she’s getting back on her feet. She says she has to get back to work.
“Got flights coming up,” she told one of her visitors while in the hospital. “Got to get out and hug you.”