VA Voluntary Service at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan, was intrigued by the Human Hug Project and reached out to the founders to discuss ways they could potentially implement a Hug-A- Vet spin-off program at their facility.
The Human Hug Project, founded by three friends: Ian Michael, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Gino Greganti, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Erin Greganti, a Marine Corps wife who experienced war and its aftermath at home, were eager to lend a hand, or in this case, three pairs of arms.
During National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, the trio did just that, by helping the medical center start their own program by sharing their mission of bringing awareness to PTSD by giving love back to humanity, one hug at a time.
“We have all of these Veterans that are home, coming home, have been home for years walking around in pain and slowly starting to isolate themselves, “ said Michaels. “And we’re so busy with ourselves, we’re not realizing that people who’ve defended our freedom and our country are in pain and are hurting.”
The facility is now looking to build its own team of volunteers to share a hug with their Veterans.
Here’s a look at a previous event from the project’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
About the author: Carrie Seward is a public affairs officer with the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan.