His heroism extended beyond this initial act, as he stood by the mother-daughter duo for over eight hours, providing vital support.
The fire disaster in Maui is not only a testament to the increasing climate changes and risks but has also turned out to be the deadliest fire in the State's history. With over 100 people dead and even more missing, this fire has proven to be quite brutal. However, there is a bright ray of light in this dire situation. These fires have resulted in people being kinder and going the extra mile to help the survivors as much as they can and here is an example of the same.
Lani Williams and her mother, Sincerity Mirkovich, had been living in the historic town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui for most of their lives. As wildfires ravaged their beloved town, the mother-daughter duo jumped in their car to escape. However, that didn't go as planned. Williams told Good Morning America, "Embers are already falling on us. So we get [my mom] in the car and then, already, traffic is at like a standstill. 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.'"
Woman reunites with stranger who carried her on his back to evacuate Maui wildfires https://t.co/maT3MniZjg News(LAHAINA, Hawaii) -- Lani Williams and her mother, Sincerity Mirkovich, have lived in the historic town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui for most of their l...— KTBB 97.5 FM /AM600 Radio (@KTBBRadio) August 17, 2023
Hawaii officials stated that the wildfires the mother and daughter were trying to escape had become the deadliest natural disaster in state history. Williams and her mom, who goes by Noni, determined the only way out of the fire's path was to get out of their car and climb over a nearby seawall and into the ocean water. However, that escape route proved too tedious for Noni as she has trouble walking and mostly uses a walker for assistance.
While they were contemplating what to do next, they found their knight in shining armor. They said a man, who was a stranger, came to help them. The man, later recognized as Benny Reinicke, told Mirkovich to lean on his back so that he could take her over the seawall and into the water. Williams recalled, "He's like, 'Trust me. Trust me. I promise. I got you. Auntie put your weight on me. I got you.'"
Reposting for a friend who’s family in Hawaii lost everything https://t.co/PYU90vMxkg— shannon. (@sheenaniganz) August 12, 2023
Reinicke carried Mirkovich on his back over the seawall and then stayed with her and her daughter in the ocean water for over eight hours as they waited for the fires to subside. All this while, Williams kept wondering something. "I just kept thinking to myself, like, this is a young, healthy guy, that he could have just left. He could have swam around to safety. But he didn't. He stayed with us the whole time and made sure that all of us were safe," Williams said.
After they made their way out of the ocean and to safety, Williams and Mirkovich lost touch with Reinicke. It was "GMA" that brought the three of them together for the first time since their life-threatening first meeting. Mirkovich said to Reinicke as they hugged, "Auntie wouldn't have made it without you. I wouldn't have made it, bebe. I was scared." Reinicke said he had no hesitation in helping save Mirkovich and Williams. He said, "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. No way."
Williams profoundly thanked the man who saved hers as well as her mother's. Williams told Reinicke that he is now part of their ohana, a Hawaiian term that means family. "We love you," she said lovingly. On that unfaithful day, their lives were saved, but they lost everything else. To start their lives again, one of their family members started a GoFundMe campaign to help Lahaina Ohana Lani and Sincerity Mirkovich.