Hug Lady

1st Cavalry Division commander Maj. Gen. Michael Bills, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Barteky escort Elizabeth Laird, the "Hug Lady," as part of the colors-uncasing ceremony last year at Fort Hood.

Thousands of soldiers have boarded planes from the Fort Hood airport since the beginning of the war in Iraq in 2003. They’ve headed off to war-torn nations for months, sometimes years at a time. For some soldiers there have been several deployments since then. For Elizabeth Laird, there have been hundreds.

The Copperas Cove resident, now 83, has stood faithfully at the airport to wish each soldier off with a warm embrace for the last 12 years, and has waited faithfully at the tarmac for each return, with another hug for the travel-weary troops.

Contact JC Jones at or 254-501-7464​

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