After one of the worst storms ever, a little girl’s hug brought hope. This fall, her rescuer found her again. LeShay Brown was 3 years old when Hurricane Katrina hit her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. It was August 29, 2005. The storm was one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Floods destroyed neighborhoods. At least 1,800 people died. Mike Maroney saw a lot of the destruction. He was a rescue worker with the U.S. Air Force. Maroney spent seven days rescuing people in a helicopter. It was a sad task, since many people did not survive. But there was one bright spot. Maroney rescued LeShay and her family from a rooftop, where they were trapped by floodwaters. When they landed on safe ground, LeShay gave Maroney a big hug. That hug, says Maroney, “gave me hope that kept me going through rough times.” For years, Maroney wondered what had happened to LeShay. He didn’t know her name. But he had a photo of the hug. Using the photo and social media, Maroney finally found LeShay, now 13, in September 2015. He was thrilled that she was OK. Says Maroney, “She’s still got the same smile.”
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