Caresse Jackman

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Video: HUGs for Air Force Families Missing Their Loved Ones

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-The holidays can be a tough time for our servicemen and servicewomen, especially those deployed or on assignment thousands of miles away from home.

The Columbus Air Force Airmen and Family Readiness Center is making that separation a little bit easier by making stuff dolls called HUG’s.

Laura Clagg is the director of the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. She says the dolls create a special memento for family and loved ones.

“We’re making what we call HUG’s. And it stands for Huggable Uniformed Gifts, and we make them for the folks that are deploying and are on a remote assignment. The kids love them, the wives and husbands love them, girlfriends, and yes! Even mothers love them,” says Clagg.

The HUG’s have a full-length portrait of the airman on the front and a uniform fabric stitched to the back.

“We basically ask that persons deploying on a remote assignment stop into the center, have their picture taken and then we ask them how many dolls or HUG’s they’re going to need. We will then print the picture of that individual, we cut them out and on the back we use old BDU’s, uniforms that can no longer be used and then we match them up,” says Clagg.

Lieutenant Andrew Wilson works on the Air Force base and decided to send one home.

“I sent it to my girlfriend in Cincinnati. She really liked it. She said her cat won’t stop playing with it,” says Wilson.

It’s a cute present that brings comfort to loved ones, that sometimes feel worlds apart.

“It shrinks the distance, having something of me, just something for her to have. Little stuff like that makes all the difference,” says Wilson.

“When you’re so far away from your loved ones, it’s hard to keep those connections and those bonds together, so it’s just something to hand onto to keep each other close,” says Clagg.

So far, the program has made over 100 HUG’s. Columbus Air Force Base is the first base to offer these dolls for free to family members.