Let it never be said that our nation’s veterans or active duty military personnel are ungrateful for kind words and actions of thanks. This story is the perfect example of that gratitude.
83-year-old Elizabeth Laird, of Fort Hood, Texas, has been showing up at every deployment and troop return for years to hug the soldiers and thank them for their service.
Laird is a veteran of the Air Force, and has been showing up to wish troops well ever since her own service ended. According to NBC Nightly News, she was awarded the Yellow Rose of Texas by the governor in 2014, an award given to women who make a difference in Texas.
Laird has been battling breast cancer since 2005, and is now no longer able to live on her own. Now that the Hug Lady herself is in need of some kindness, and the men and women she has hugged have not forgotten her.
A Gofundme account was opened yesterday to raise money to help pay for her medical bills and to put her in an assisted living facility. The account has earned over $50,000 from fewer than 2,000 donors in under 24 hours.
Comments on the page reflect the impact she has made on the men and women of the United States Army.
Claudia Vaneza Mohead wrote:
“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.”
Adam McCormick wrote:
“Deployment is never easy, but you helped us all smile when we met you there at the airport. That final goodbye hug from the sweetest woman has stuck with me over the years and I hope more than anything you’ll be better soon. Thank you for everything and I hope we can all help.”
And the messages of love and thanks go on and on. Many are calling for the deployment center to be named after Laird in recognition of her tireless work making vets feel welcome.
If you want to support Laird, visit this Gofundme page.