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Rufus Burkhalter and Bobby Brown

Rufus Burkhalter, 61, and his friend and co-worker Bobby Brown, 58, are water-pump operators at Pumping Station No. 6 along the 17th Street Canal in New Orleans.

In the days after Katrina hit, Burkhalter and Brown risked their lives inside the station, continuing to work even after the levees broke. Pump Station 6, in Orleans Parish, is one of the world's largest pumping stations.

Brown's home in the Lower Ninth Ward was submerged and destroyed, and everything inside Burkhalter's home was severely damaged by the rising water.

The pair have worked together for more than 20 years.

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