Usually, when military personnel are brought in to rescue civilians, the parties involved never see each other again. But Master Sergeant Mike Maroney of the U.S. Air Force and LaShay Brown, the little girl he saved during Hurricane Katrina, are quite a different story. When pararescuer (or PJ) Maroney picked up LaShay and her family from the waters of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the little girl gave her rescuer a big hug that he never forgot. The moment was captured in an award-winning photograph that circled the globe. Maroney, who was battling PTSD at the time, carried the photo with him on difficult deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, to remind him of that special moment.
Eventually, he tried to find the little girl who changed his life, even launching a #FindKatrinaGirl social media campaign. Finally, 10 years after that fateful storm, the two were reunited on the set of The Real in September 2015. Upon their reunion, Maroney told LaShay,