Girl in iconic Hurricane Katrina photo reunites with Air Force rescuer at JROTC ball

(FOX NEWS) - An Air Force enlistee who worked as a pararescue jumper in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is reuniting with the little girl he hugged in a now-iconic photograph to a Junior ROTC ball.

The photo captured a smiling 3-year-old LaShay Brown hugging  Master Sgt. Mike Maroney after his team plucked the girl and her family to safety in a helicopter in the aftermath of the 2005 disaster.

Over the years he desperately tried to find her. They were reunited on a TV talk show in 2015.

LaShay, now 14, plans to bring Maroney to the JROTC ball Saturday, Fox 8 New Orleans reports. According to LaShay, Maroney inspired her to join her high school’s JROTC program.

“I’m going because I would do anything to repay the hug to LaShay and her family,” Maroney told People, according to the station. “They mean as much to me as my own.”

Maroney posted a recent photo of him and LaShay to Instagram, noting how excited he was to see her.

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