COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Columbus Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center director Laura Clagg can't get enough of HUGS — Huggable Uniformed Gifts.
"They've kind of evolved over time. The backs are donated uniforms that are no longer serviceable, so we will cut them out and put them together, and then we stuff them," Clagg said.
A picture is taken of a service member. Then through computer magic and a lot of heat, the HUG becomes a custom-made doll.
"The doll that was made for me, I sent to my girlfriend in Cincinnati. She loved it. It's little things like this that can kind of shrink the distance," center volunteer 2nd Lt. Andrew Wilson said.
A deployment can last six months to a year, and while they keep the lines of communication open between the service member and his or her family, the doll is something back home they can actually hug.
"Anytime you are separated, it is difficult, especially at Christmastime. It's even more difficult, so sometimes you just need a little something to hang on to, and that's basically what the HUGS are all about," Clagg added.
"The other day we passed some out to families that we help, and it was really rewarding — the joy on the kids' faces when they got a little doll with their parent's picture on it," 2nd Lt. Wilson added.
Clagg said she knows of no other air force base offering the dolls, which she believes makes them even more special.