Rename the Fort Hood A/DACG (air terminal) after the hug lady Elizabeth Laird.
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Elizabeth Laird was an extraordinary person. It's only right that the building she's seen so many soldiers deploy and come home in is named after her.
I have found a life backstory of Mrs. Laird here it is as follows:(Credit Linda Carter, June 30 2018, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155436628261231&set=a.10152475371311231&type=3&theater )
Elizabeth Corrine Laird "The Hug Lady"
JANUARY 15, 1932 – DECEMBER 24, 2015
Elizabeth was born January 15, 1932 in Birmingham, Alabama to Andrew Curtis and Rhoda Waldron. She graduated at the age of 17 from Woodlawn High School with honors, excelling in Math, as well as playing the trumpet in the Woodlawn Marching band, being in the orchestra, photography (we all know how she loves to take pictures), Warbler Club, Marshall, Apollo club with the desire to become a famous surgeon.
Elizabeth was very patriotic and after graduation she enlisted in the Air Force as a cook to serve her country in any way she could. Anyone who knew Elizabeth knew what an excellent cook she was. She had the ability to put together a meal out of just about anything and making it appetizing.
After her time in the Air force she met and married a Marine named Harry Dewees. The couple became the proud parents of four children; Richard, Linda, David, and Susan. She wanted to provide more for her family so when the opportunity came to learn a new, exciting and challenging field of computer programming where women were a minority, she took the challenge and so began her journey working for the civil service beginning as a computer pioneer in the Army Defense System, as well as being one of the first computer programmers for Project Master which was the initial Army Operational testing organization to working for the Department of Defense.
She loved to travel and her job took her across the United States to Germany, Italy and other European Countries, from Washington D.C, Pentagon, to White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Ft Bliss, El Paso, Texas, Ft Huachcha, Arizona and finally Ft. Hood, Texas.
She met and married Ray Laird in Ft Huachuca, Arizona and moved to Copperas Cove, Texas and made it her home. She had two step children through Ray-Rhonda and David Laird. When Elizabeth retired from civil service, she worked with Ray in their tax preparation business known as Have Pencil Will Travel of which she still worked until the time of her death.
She was very adventurous, and enjoyed riding motorcycles, flying in air balloons. She even walked to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and she rode a mule down into the Grand Canyon.
Elizabeth was always active in her community and her church. She was a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and attended the church in Temple. She did volunteer work in many ways, helping her community and anyone in need. She was a member of many community services like the AARP Community Coordinator, member of the VFW Auxiliary, Chamber of Commerce, and assist with SALT program.
In 2003, when soldiers were coming and going to the Middle East she wanted to show her appreciation for what they were doing and while volunteering with the Salvation Army; she began shaking hands which led to giving each one a hug. Elizabeth received orders from CSM Galney to hug every one of his troops when leaving and returning from overseas and that started her final career as the “Hug Lady”.
This was her love-many times talking about the look in the soldier’s eyes, how proud they were to serve their country to protect their loved ones at home. They love God, their family and their country.
Elizabeth received many awards- and special achievements. From her community she received, the Copperas Cove Leader-Press Good new person award, the Copperas Cove Exchange Club, Support USA OTC Women of Equality, Ivory Gold Award, Paul Harris from The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
From the military: Pillow for Operation Iraqi Freedom, 41st Fire Brigade Operation Enduring Freedom, Dedication to the soldiers 297th ICTC, U.S. Army Operational Test Command, 2nd Squadron 38th Calvary Regiment, USA Garrison Command 1st Calvary Division Corps, COSCOM, 4th infantry Division, Task Force 14 Task for MED-Eas 756th AS MC Areal Operation, 1st Air Calvary Brigade, 36th Infantry Division National Guard Global War.
From the State of Texas: From Governor Rick Perry “Yellow Rose of Texas”. A Letter from President George W. Bush As well as many more, too numerous to mention. As one can see, Elizabeth was a true American who loved God, Family and her country and she showed her love to those around her, whether it was a homeless person or the President of the United States.
Knitting and crocheting were her special hobbies. She would knit blankets in the car on her way to meet Tax clients. These blankets were often given to patients in nursing homes.
She never became a surgeon, but she did something just as important if not more important- She gave herself to others-whether volunteering to ring the Salvation Bell at Christmas, visiting the people in the nursing home with songs of cheer and reading to those who no longer could read, giving money, food, or clothing to the homeless or anyone in need, defending the underdog, or giving Bible Studies. Elizabeth tried to show the love of Jesus to everyone she came in contact with.
Elizabeth passed away December 24, 2015 at Metroplex hospital after fighting a long battle with breast cancer.
She was preceded in death by her first husband Harry Dewees, her second husband Ray Laird, her daughter Linda Crumbley, her parents Andrew Curtis and Rhoda Waldron, her brother Jimmy Moore, her three sisters, Ann Nystrom, Lucille Moore, and Lois Tennow.
Survivors include her sons Richard Curtis Dewees and his wife Karen of Copperas Cove, Texas, David Randall Dewees and his wife Cindy of Lake Charles, Louisiana, daughter Susan Marie Dewees Taylor and her husband Steve of Heflin, Alabama, step son David Allen Laird of Canyonville, Oregon and step daughter Rhonda Radine Schweinbold of Jacksonville, Florida; 11 grand-children; 8 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and close friends.
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