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'Katrina Girl' to Bring Her Rescuer to JROTC Ball

One of the most iconic images of Hurricane Katrina was the photograph of three-year-old LaShay Brown smiling widely as she hugged U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Mike Maroney, then a member of a pararescue team who lifted Brown’s family from the roof of their home they had been stranded on September 6, 2005. 


It was a chance meeting during one of the most difficult times in Louisiana history, but the image of the young New Orleans girl embracing the U.S. Air Force officer resonated with the country.  On the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Maroney and Brown finally reunited on an episode of The Real. Since then, the two have stayed in regular touch. It was Maroney who inspired the now-teenaged Brown to join the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) in her current home in Mississippi. Tonight, Maroney will act as LaShay Brown’s escort to her JROTC ball. “I would do anything to repay the hug to LaShay and her family,” Sergeant said in a statement to People. “They mean as much to me as my own.”   

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