Mar 2, 2016

Laura Youngblood knows all too well the true meaning of sacrifice. Both Laura and her husband, Travis, served in the military as combat medics where they met. It was love at first sight and they got married a month later.

When Laura was called up for active duty a few years later, they had a little boy, Hunter. Travis wanted her to be able to stay home with Hunter and eventually return to school, so he volunteered to take her place.

During that deployment to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq in 2005, his unit was hit by an IED. Despite his severe injuries, he asked the medics on the field to help his fellow Marines first, and come back for him later. He said he felt like it was his responsibility to save them first. Six days later, he died.

Laura knew that he was gone before anyone even knocked on her door. She woke up in the middle of the night, knowing something was wrong. At the time, she was 8 months pregnant with their daughter Emma.

Though ordinary to most, Emma never got a chance to hug her father. She holds on to her dad by hugging him at his memorial. Laura does everything she can to share memories of Emma’s father through photographs and stories told.

On Hug a GI Day, Children of Fallen Patriots is honoring Gold Star military children, like Emma, who don’t have a parent to hug. The foundation is aiming to reach donations, or “virtual hugs” from 100 different donors. By using Text to donate, donations can be made by simply texting “College” to 31996.