WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A little girl who faced death during Hurricane Katrina has finally touched base with the man who saved her life as flood waters rose in New Orleans.
LeShay Brown took it all in with a big smile; the same smile was a symbol of hope amid the death and destruction of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. Hope for the Brown family of New Orleans began with the man on the other side of the now famous photo, Air Force Para-rescue Jumper Mike Maroney .
"They'd been in their house for seven days with no food no water when the water receded that's when we picked them up in the middle of the street," said Former Air Force Master Sergeant Mike Maroney
Maroney began his search for LeShay Brown 10 years ago. With help of friends and social media, he found her living in Waveland, Mississippi.
"Her friend contacted my friend on Instagram and said my friend is the little girl your dad is looking for." added Maroney.
Pictures were emailed back and forth and Maroney couldn't believe his eyes.
LeShay was just three years old when the photo was taken. She doesn't remember what happened, but has been told the story many times.
We had got on a helicopter and my mother was scared because the doors were opened and she was just crying and they say I told her everything was going to be ok and I gave the man a hug before we got off," said Brown.
Both Maroney and Brown are looking forward to a face-to-face reunion.
LeShay added, "I feel like he was a special person to me that I never got to meet before and why because, of course, cause he saved my life and helped us through some hard times and things and I would really like to meet him and of course thank him."
The New York Based Relief Organization The Giving Circle, which adopted Waveland After Katrina is putting up $1,000 toward Maroney's trip from Texas. WLOX News is currently working to find contact information for the organization.