WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Wichita Navy veteran is giving back to her fellow vets in a unique way.

Laurie Hickle grew up in Hope, Kansas, but now calls Wichita home. Her husband, Steven Hickle, died in a hit-and-run outside Arrowhead Stadium in 2021.

After his death, she tried to find ways to stay busy. That is how her shop BACIO4U came to life.

“I needed to add more to my plate to keep me busy, and I thought, you know if I open this business, I love antiques, I love making things, I love veterans, so why not open up a store that I can do all of that in one,” said Hickle. “I just absolutely love to hear stories from veterans.”

After retiring from the Navy, she missed her time in service. She opened her nonprofit shop BACIO4U in July 2022, helping her stay in touch with her fellow vets and Kansans.

Hickle makes handmade soaps, gift baskets, décor, and keychains.

She’s made over 100 keychains for veterans taking a trip with the Kansas Honor Flight. She also sells vintage and antique items but isn’t looking for personal profit.

“We are not here to get rich. We are just here to make sure we can make some money for the Kansas Honor Flight,” said Hickle.

She’s raised almost $3,000 for Kansas veterans during her first year open.

“There are people that come in and shop, and they have no idea what the Kansas Honor Flight is, so again, that is me thinking that I can get this word out,” said Hickle.

She wants to make sure veterans get the chance to visit our nation’s Capitol.

“The older generation is not going to be able to do it one day. Will the younger generation step up to continue to do this for these veterans?” Hickle asked.

She hopes customers can enjoy a snack, conversation, and find a treasure, all while gifting those who fought for our freedom.

“It makes me feel like, ‘All right, I’m doing a good thing here,'” said Hickle.

“Bacio” means kiss in Italian, remembering her time in the Navy in Italy.

Due to her busy schedule, she is open Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. but said hours can fluctuate. She also posts her finds on her Facebook page, and you can message her there to purchase items.

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