U.S.: Man Reunites With Woman He Carried On His Back During Maui Wildfires

Lani Williams and her mother, Sincerity Mirkovich, both long-time inhabitants of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui, were among those forced to escape as a result of the horrific wildfires that ravaged their community.

Williams recounted the hectic evacuation scene to “Good Morning America,” with blazing embers dropping around them and cars grinding to a standstill.

She said, “Then we see another fire on the side of us, a whole house. We’re in the car and a whole tree is on fire, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to die.’”

Williams and her mother, popularly known as Noni, took a bold decision to flee the oncoming fires. They felt their only option was to ditch their automobile and scramble over a nearby seawall to seek refuge in the ocean’s waters.

Mirkovich’s difficulty walking and dependency on a walker, on the other hand, made the chosen escape path impossible. Thankfully, a stranger named Benny Reinicke emerged and offered to help. He suggested to Mirkovich that she lean on his back so he could safely carry her over the seawall and into the water.

“He’s like, ‘Trust me. Trust me. I promise. I got you,’ and he did,” Williams recounted. “He said, ‘Auntie, put your weight on me. I got you.’”

“I just kept thinking to myself, like, this is a young, healthy guy; he could have just left. He could have swam around to safety. But he didn’t. He stayed with us the entire time and made sure that all of us were safe,” she expressed.

Unfortunately, once they reached safety after escaping the ocean, Williams and Mirkovich lost communication with Reinicke, the compassionate stranger who had assisted them during their life-threatening escape. However, due to “Good Morning America” (GMA), a reunion took occurred this week.

Williams, Mirkovich, and Reinicke were brought together for the first time since their first meeting, allowing them to reconnect and discuss their experiences since that perilous encounter. Reinicke claimed that he acted without hesitation to assist in the rescue of Mirkovich and Williams. His fast response was motivated by a tremendous sense of urgency and a desire to help them in their hour of need.

“There’s no way morally I could just walk past that and just save myself, you know,” he said. “It’s just not hard. It’s just the way my algorithm is in my head is. No way.”

Williams told Reinicke that the man who saved her and her mother’s lives had become a part of their “ohana,” which is a Hawaiian term for family. Williams indicated that Reinicke had not only earned their thanks, but had also become a vital and cherished member of their extended family by utilizing this term.

The Maui wildfires have been labeled Hawaii’s deadliest natural disaster, with over 100 confirmed deaths and many more people still missing.

Written by PH

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