The photo of Air Force pararescue jumper, Michael Maroney and the little girl he just saved from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago was seen by millions around the globe.
It was used as a promotional tool to bring in more donations and since it was taken, Maroney never stopped trying to find out who she was and if she was ok.
“I would love to get another hug and see how she’s doing, I’d love her to know that there isn’t a day I haven’t thought of her.” Maroney told the Washington Post.
Well now she’s been found! Her name is LeShay Brown, and she is now 13 years old and lives in Mississippi. The odds were low of finding her other but the joy they both had that day had them both wishing for this reunion.
Her mother said this of the moment:
“I was crying because I was scared . . . that was the first time I was on a helicopter, the first time I was on a plane and the first time I ever left New Orleans, the helicopter had open doors, so I looked out and you could just see all the water over everything, and it was just too much for me, so she was comforting me.”
It was a heartening moment captured amid overwhelming bleakness: A 3-year-old Hurricane Katrina survivor wrapped her chubby little arms round an Air Force pararescue jumper who had rappelled into New Orleans to save the girl’s family from floodwaters.
The 2005 photograph showing a toddler with pigtails and an ear-to-ear grin holding tight to Staff Sgt. Michael Maroney was soon everywhere — plastered on Burger King placemats, AT&T phone cards, a magazine cover.
For many people, including Maroney, the photo represented hope at a time of total devastation.
Do you remember this image? Have others that show the sacrifice of our military service members during the storm? Let us know in the comments below!