Sunday, October 2, 2022

Katrina : U. S. Airman Finds Little Girl Who Gave Him ‘Bear Hug’ in Helicopter

Staff Sgt. Michael Maroney and 3-year-old LeShay Brown
Staff Sgt. Michael Maroney and 3-year-old LeShay Brown

*It was the bear hug felt around the world. An Air Force pararescue jumper descended upon the cold flood waters of Katrina to save a 3-year-old girl and her family in 2005.

The child, so happy to see the man, unabashedly showed her happiness by wrapping her arms around his neck and giving him the biggest bear hug along with a smile that went ear-to-ear.

To no one’s surprise, that picture was soon everywhere. It popped up on Burger King place mats, AT&T phone cards, a magazine cover.

The photo touched the heart of the rescuer, Staff Sgt. Michael Maroney, himself a father, because of what he says it represented.

“I was a single father trying to raise two boys. I had just gotten back from Afghanistan, and New Orleans was under water,” Maroney, told The Washington Post. “When she hugged me, everything went away. There were no problems in that moment. That meant everything to me.”

“It had been such a rough week; when she wrapped me up in that hug, I was in la-la land,”he said earlier this year. “Nothing else existed.”

Mahoney, now 40, always wondered about the little girl whose name he never got. And he never stopped hoping that he would find her.

And now he has.

Read more at EURThisNthat.

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