Fishermen usually have a lot of stories to tell. Many of them involve fish- as you might have guessed already-, but there are others that really make your heart skip a beat.
Like the story fishermen Mark Pisano and Paul Strasser have to tell that dates back to 1986.
That year, the two men had one of the most powerful experiences in their lives. They rescued a young girl from a capsized boat off the California coast.
Pisano and Strasser were returning from Catalina Island on a charter, when they saw a capsized boat and an orange vest floating in the water.
Without giving it a second thought, Pisano jumped in the water and pulled out of it 9-year-old Desiree Rodriguez, the only survivor of the tragic accident.
The little girl, who was surprisingly alert, had been in the water for about 20 hours before she was found. The fact that she survived was nearly a miracle.
“That story, it really throws a loop at me,” Strasser said, whith Pisano adding: “It was catastrophic. Imagining what she went through that day is unspeakable, really.”
The girl had been on the boat with her parents, her sister, her uncle, and her aunt, but none of the rest made it out of the water alive. In fact, the bodies of Rodriguez’s father, sister, and uncle were never recovered.
Still, Rodriguez knew she would get some kind of closure and peace if she reunited with the men that saved her life.
So, a couple of weeks ago, podcaster Phil Friedman invited Pisano and Strasser to his show, along with a surprise guest.
The moment when the surprise guest aka Desiree reveals her identity brought tears to our eyes.
Just by the sound of the name Desiree, the two men start tearing up. They realized who they had in front of them and they couldn’t believe it.
“When I connected with them, they brought a lot of closure,” Rodriguez said.
Since their emotional reunion, the three of them have been in touch and, recently, the men invited Rodriguez along with the aunt that brought her up and the rest of the family to their boat.
This was the first time Rodriguez had been on the ocean since the tragedy. When the boat got to the spot where the girl had been found 35 years ago, everyone left a flower in memory of the family members that were lost in the water.
“I’m glad we could come together today and kinda heal,” Rodriguez said on the trip.
And while it was hard for Desiree, it also gave her the chance to celebrate the two guardian angels she has gained, with whom she wishes to be friends forever.
“I hope to know you guys forever,” Rodriguez said to the two men who once found her.
Even though her life as she knew it was shuttered that day 35 years ago, Desiree was offered the gift of life and she has always been grateful for that.
As Pisano wisely pointed out, “God works in mysterious ways”, and this story is here to prove it.
Make sure you head over to the video below and watch the emotional reunion of the three.
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