Find Family Photos Lost in Tornado on Facebook

Joplin A woman in Carthage, Missouri has put together a very special Facebook page. It is designed to help people who lost their family photos in the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, to potentially find them. This may be the first time that a social media website was used to reunite families with the lost photos of their relatives and ancestors.

A woman named Abi Almandinger, who lives in Carthage, Missouri, wanted to do something to help the people who lived in Joplin, Missouri. Joplin was hit by a tornado on May 22, 2011. In many cases, people lost everything they had when the tornado hit their homes. Things like furniture and television sets, dishes and appliances, bedding and clothing, can be replaced. Sadly, some very precious things, like family photos, are irreplaceable. Once those are gone, they are usually gone forever.

Photos connect a person to their relatives, and their ancestors, many of whom have long since passed away. People make wedding albums to remember their wedding, and scrapbooks filled with photos of their children from when the kids were little. There are photos that hold memories of places that people used to live, of pets they used to have, and of family gatherings. When people lament the loss of their family photos, they are mourning the loss of a connection to their family. Photos are one of the first things people will grab in an emergency situation.

Abi was listening to the radio when she heard a woman say that she found debris from the tornado in her yard. Part of the debris consisted of someone’s family photos. The woman didn’t know what to do with those photos, or how to find the person they belonged to. This inspired Abi, who is a scrapbooker, to put together a very special Facebook page that could help reunite people with the family photos that they lost in the tornado.

The Facebook page is called “Joplin Tornado Debris. Lost and Found”. Anyone who found debris from the Joplin tornado in their yard, that would be important for someone to have returned to them, can connect to the Facebook page.

Post the photo that you found, and a way that the owner can get in touch with you. In addition to photos, people are noting that they found old, yellowed, letters and documents that somehow survived the tornado intact. Those who found someone else’s birthday cards, hospital x-rays, and other important personal belongings are welcome to mention it on the Facebook page. I’ve noticed that the page also has people who lost something important to them posting on the wall of the page, with short descriptions of it.

This may be the first time that a social media website like Facebook has been used to coordinate a connection between those who lost family photos, important documents, and precious heirlooms, with the people who found it sitting in their yards, after the tornado had passed by. Technology can be pretty remarkable, at times.

Image by Meagan Jean Wooley on Flickr