DETROIT - A dedicated volunteer from the American Red Cross was instrumental in reuniting a father and daughter after a Florida man spotted something odd in a photograph.
It all started during the rescue efforts following Hurricane Isaac in Slidell, Louisiana, when an Associated Press photographer captured a photo of an man rescued from Palm Lake by first responders.
Another state away, a man in Florida saw the photograph and thought it was a picture of his missing brother, who disappeared after Hurricane Katrina.
He contacted with the Associated Press and the Louisiana Red Cross chapter, to find out the identify of the man in the image.
Volunteer Debbie Kemp, who was deployed in Louisiana from Ann Arbor, Michigan, took on the challenge and began to do research on the photograph.
Kemp was able to track the man in the image to a Red Cross shelter in Slidell.
Unfortunately Kemp discovered the man had just left the shelter.
The sheriff's department gave Kemp a new lead when they told her a deputy gave the mystery man a ride to his residence.
After two days, Kemp was able to identify the man and set up a meeting with Larry Baily, the man in the photograph.
Together they contacted the man in Florida and determined during a phone call that the two were in fact, not related.
The story could have ended there. But it didn't.
Kemp could see that Baily was ill and she made arrangements for a family friend to take him to the hospital.
She checked on him during his recovery, and during her visit he shared the names and contact information of his estranged family.
Kemp started making phones calls once again.
She was able to reach Baily's ex-wife.
Baily's daughter, Brenda LaFlamme, heard the news about her father and decided to travel to Slidell and reconnect with her dad.
Father and daughter were reunited in the hospital after a 16-year absence.
LaFlamme says she is relieved her father is still alive and extremely grateful to be reconnected with him.
"This will provide the family the opportunity to try to put the past behind them and move forward," she said.
Baily continued his recover in a medical facility with the support of his daughter.
As he left the hospital, he said he was very happy to have this chance to reconnect with his family and thanked Kemp for all her efforts.
"Making one person happy, makes the deployment worthwhile," said Kemp.
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