'Hug Lady' Has Greeted Fort Hood Soldiers Since 2003

(KCEN) -- It doesn't matter the weather or what hour of the night, if you're a soldier flying through Fort Hood's Robert Grey Airfield, the hug lady's warm embrace is sure to be in the forecast.

81-year old Elizabeth Laird has been there for nearly all flights in and out of Fort Hood since 2003.

That's an estimated 530,000 hugs.

It's been nearly a year since the 160 soldiers with the 211th Aviation Group were last in her arms.

"Hugs are good for you. You give somebody a hug and they smile and it lifts their spirits," Laird says.

And with spirits lifted, Chief Warrant Officer II Jesse Griffin wanted to repay the favor.

"We were all wondering, 'I wonder if the hug lady is there. I wonder if the hug lady is there,' and I saw her coming through, so I whipped out my patch I had for her," he said shortly after arriving.

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