Hope Chimeno was only 10 days old when she and her family were rescued from their home in Orange, Texas during Hurricane Harvey.
As their street flooded and water creeped up toward the house, the Chimenos got on a rescue boat thanks to the Cajun Navy, who brought them to a shelter to Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Once they were safe and dry with a volunteer host family, baby Hope took some special newborn photos in honor of their rescue.
Photographer Noelle Mills took the photos of baby Hope on the very boat that rescued her family. Noelle told HuffPost she is friends with Cris and Clint Sanford, the two men who rescued the Chimenos.
When they got to Lake Charles, Cris’ wife, Katy, asked Hope’s mom, Emily, if she’d taken any newborn photos of her daughter.
Emily said they only had a few photos from the hospital, so Katy texted her friend, Noelle, to set up a professional session. “I knew immediately I wanted to donate the session to them,” the photographer told HuffPost. “Katy also mentioned it would be neat to use the boat, and that’s when my mind started racing.”
Though Noelle had not met the Chimeno family until the day of the shoot, she said they had a wonderful time together. “They are such a sweet family,” she said.
“I also know this is something the family will remember forever,” she added.
As the storm raged, the Chimeno family stayed with Melissa Viator, a volunteer who spotted them at the shelter in Lake Charles and opened her home to them.
In the aftermath, they learned their house was spared.
“They were one of the very few fortunate ones!” said Noelle. “They are back home now and trying to pick up the pieces and adjust to a life with three little ones at home.”
Noelle shared Hope’s newborn photos with the Facebook page Love What Matters, where they received more than 30,000 likes.
She told HuffPost she wants the images to share a simple (and fitting) message: Hope. “I also hope people see the unity of state neighbors and the message of HOPE!” Noelle said.
The photographer also emphasized the importance of volunteering and helping others.
“I am in probably the busiest season of my life. I am a wife, mother, I work a public relations job, and do photography on the side. I also just started college at 32,” said Noelle. “My whole point in saying that is that you are never too busy to stop what you’re doing and help someone out.”