Soldiers Line Up at Hospital Bedside of 'Hug Lady'

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(Photo: Courtesy of Trish Sigrist)

After years of offering soldiers in Texas comfort, Elizabeth Laird is receiving it in return.

Today reports that soldiers from all over the U.S. are coming to the hospital bedside of the 83-year-old who offered them handshakes and hugs as they entered or departed from Fort Hood in Gatesville, Texas.

"When they enter the room, they give me a hug and then we talk about anything from their family to what it was like overseas or if they got a civilian job upon returning," Laird told Today. "Sometimes the line is so long that we have to turn people away."

In addition to the hug, most soldiers remember when they first were embraced by Laird and often bring her the Psalm 91 card she traditionally gives out before deployments.

She even had a visitor come from as far away as New York to return her kindness.

Laird, who has given more than 500,000 hugs to soldiers on estimate since 2003, has been hospitalized at Killeen's Metroplex Hospital in Killeen, Texas, since Nov. 3. She's been battling breast cancer since 2005 and refuses chemotherapy.