Navy veteran launches unique business venture to help fellow vets

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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – A Wichita Navy veteran turns a tragedy into something positive. She found a way to help other vets through a unique business.

In a west Wichita home, 34-year-old Navy veteran Laurie Hickle is on a mission to make a difference through a soap-making business.

“It’s actually so much fun to do,” she said. “The more I read about how bad store-bought soap is and all the stuff it adds, the more I started making it.”

Hickle said she needed to find something therapeutic after her husband died last fall.

Hickle’s husband Steve, also a Navy veteran, died of injuries last fall after a Chiefs game in Kansas City. Two vehicles hit Steve Hickle near the stadium. It was both hit and run when the two drivers left the scene.

As part of the healing process, Hickle turned to something she was already doing, making her own soap.

“I started doing that and more. Before I knew it, I had so much soap I could bathe Kansas,” she said.

With his naval background, Hickle came up with a home business idea, “Bacio 4 U”. “Bacio” means “kiss” in Latin. All proceeds go to Kansas Honor Flights which take veterans to Washington, DC to view the war memorials.

“I love giving back to veterans because they’ve given so much for us,” Hickle said.

As shoppers enter her business, located in a house on West Beckmeyer Street near Central and Tyler, she invites them in for a snack and a cup of coffee while striking up a conversation.

“I love visiting people, so if they want to come in and share stories, I love listening to them,” she said.

Hickle said she knew her husband would be happy with what she accomplished.

“I’m always busy with something. He would always participate with pleasure, because he had to,” she said with a smile.

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