Girl Invites Her Angel For The High School Dance.

Back in 2005, 3-year-old LaShay Brown was stuck in flood-ravaged New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Then, Air Force Pararescueman Master Sgt. Mike Maroney swooped down like an angel and plucked her away from the deadly floodwaters. It was an amazing rescue…. one of many at that time.

When his helicopter landed and Mike was saying goodbye to the little girl, she gave him a big hug, like she never wanted to let him go. And for Mike, that meant the world to him.

Says Mike: “That hug was everything. Time stopped. Words fail to express what that hug meant to me.”

They both then went on to live their lives. Fortunately, a photo was taken of that big hug, and Mike would look at it often as he went through tough times in Iraq and Afghanistan. He always wondered what happened to that little girl with the big smile and that wonderful hug.

But 10 years after Katrina, Mike and LaShay were reunited after he tracked her down. And, of course, she had to give him another big hug. They have kept in touch ever since.

In 2017, LaShay was a Junior ROTC cadet, and she invited Mike to her school’s JROTC ball, and he accepted.

Says Mike: “I would do anything to repay the hug to LaShay and her family. They mean as much to me as my own.”

And LaShay was trying to figure out which branch of the military she wanted to go into. Mike said he would support her with whatever she decided. “I think she understands service,” he said. “and I believe that she will do great things no matter what she chooses.”

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