The family of 10-year-old Hayley Whiting is working hard to pay back the man who saved the little girl's life when she was caught in a rip tide.
When Hayley was pulled out to sea the last day of their family vacation, her mother, Samantha Whiting, attempted to swim in after her, but quickly realized she would be unable.
Hearing the commotion and yelling, Kevin Cozzi sprinted away from his fiancée and into the surf.
"I've been swimming since I was three years old competitively, so I felt like I could get to them," Cozzi recounted. "I ran out there and as soon as I got to the mom, I knew she was struggling."
Cozzi reached the panicked girl and pulled her back close to shore before a lifeguard arrived to complete the rescue.
In the ensuing confusion Cozzi disappeared before Samantha Whiting could get his name. After several months, she was eventually able to track him down via Facebook, only to learn that his marriage had been canceled due to the pandemic.
To thank him for his heroism that day by the ocean, the Whitings are now working diligently to raise money in order to give Cozzi and his fianceé the wedding of their dreams. To do so, Samantha Whiting set up a GoFundMe page for the hero.
Both Samantha and Hayley Whiting are planning to attend the Cozzi wedding next fall.