Thanks to Social Media
Air Force pararescuer Mike Maroney had just returned from a tour in Afghanistan when he was called on to rescue survivors after Hurricane Katrina ripped a devastating path through Louisiana and Mississippi ten years ago.
The work was emotionally draining and Maroney was losing hope. That is, until a cute three year old girl in pigtails gave him a hug for plucking her and her family off the roof of their home. That connection gave him the will to carry on.
Regretfully, he never got her name, but he could never forget her.
Ten years later he started a search to find her. He wanted to make sure she and her family were all right. He wanted her to meet his family.
Read the snippet below of how this hero searched for, and found his little inspiration.
The Air Force veteran who has been trying to reconnect with a girl he rescued 10 years ago during Hurricane Katrina has finally found her, thanks to the power of social media, he said.
This past March, Master Sgt. Michael Maroney started the social media campaign hashtag #FindKatrinaGirl in the hopes of reuniting with the three-year-old girl he rescued. She was was photographed smiling in pigtails and pink shirt hugging Maroney back in 2005.
The iconic New Orleans image has served as a symbol of hope after the devastation.
“When she wrapped me up with that hug, I just melted, and the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders,” Maroney, 40, previously told ABC News. “Everything in the world just stopped, and I wasn’t in New Orleans or in the devastation, I was just being hugged by a beautiful little girl.”
Unfortunately, he never got her name. But last week, a miracle happened, he said.
“A friend of hers contacted my son on his Instagram and said, ‘Hey, the girl your dad’s looking for is a friend of mine,” Maroney told ABC News today. “He sent us a photo of the girl a month after Katrina, showing her and her family in a shelter in Tennessee. I compared that photo with my photo, and I knew that it was her.”
You can read the whole story on ABC News.