Little girl rescued from Hurricane Katrina reunited with the airman who saved her

The image of Airman Mike Maroney rescuing the little girl brought joy to many after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
1:35 | 03/19/17

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Transcript for Little girl rescued from Hurricane Katrina reunited with the airman who saved her
Finally tonight, this image brought a bit of joy to the devastation of hurricane Katrina. A little girl hugging the airman who rescued her. Nearly 12 years later, he's at her side again. Here's John donvan. Reporter: There was the disaster, and then, there was the rescue. The airman and the little girl. A hug, and a smile. The chance encounter that lifted us all. Airman Mike Maroney was deployed and said the photo lifted him up in bad times. Not sure what planet I was on. I was just in that hug. Reporter: In 2015, Mike set out to find the girl he saved. He didn't even know her name. Her name is Lashay brown and they found each other on the real TV show. She'd changed a lot more than he had and he wanted her to know something about who saved whom. You rescued me more than I rescued you. Reporter: Mike's become a true friend to Lashay, who's been inspired to join the military, starting with her high school's junior rotc program. Where, at this weekend's big banquet, Mike, now the one who looks different, came along as her guest. He's retiring soon from the air force, but still helping Lashay figure out her future. That's what can happen when a chance encounter becomes a story with chapters yet to be written. John donvan, ABC news. We thank John for that report. And we thank you for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow night. I'm Tom llamas. Have a great evening.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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