The "hug lady" of Fort Hood, whose embrace boosted the spirits of thousands of American soldiers over nearly a decade as they shipped out for Iraq and Afghanistan, died Thursday. She was 83.
Elizabeth Laird died at Metroplex Hospital in Killeen, Texas after she was hospitalized in November due to her deteriorating health following her breast cancer diagnoses, the Killeen Daily Herald reported.
She attended almost every deployment and homecoming at Fort Hood since 2003.
Laird was beloved by all the men and women who were deployed out of the Texas military base because rain or shine, never failing to send each one off with a hug as they left Killeen/Fort Hood Regional Airport.
After her passing, a petition was started on www.whitehouse.gov to posthumously honor Laird with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It has a goal of reaching 100,000 signatures by January 24 and is already over 91,000 just four days after it was started. CLICK HERE to read the petition.