Volunteers Searching Baxter Springs and Quapaw Tornado Area for - KOAM TV 7

Volunteers Searching Baxter Springs and Quapaw Tornado Area for Lost Photos


Photographs certainly tell a story, but when they are gone...the story isn't quite the same. Residents in Quapaw and Baxter Springs are now dealing with what so many people in Joplin and Duquesne endured 3-years ago, but luckily there is help.

"We understand the life cycle of the family. And what we're trying to do is bring those pieces back to families that mean so much to them." Thad Beeler, Director of the National Disaster Photo Rescue explains.

Volunteer, Stephanie Haase explains as she searches through a debris pile, ""The debris...the tornado was spread at such a wide range you see houses and damages to homes stops at a certain point, but the wind carried those photos and those documents further than that."

The group has conducted preliminary searches this week, but the major search is planned for this Friday.

"You check everywhere. You check the piles of debris that have been pushed to the curb. You don't know what might be in there." Haase explains of the process.

Wedding photos, passports and a graduation cap have all been recovered. Officials hope to return them to the rightful owners.

Whether it be an old photo you found in your drawer, or behind a piece of glass in a frame, photographs are a memory and create a one of a kind story that no one else can share.

"They begin to put their lives together. By giving them one image at a time, they can reconstruct and tell a whole story about one picture." Beeler says.

Once the photos have been recovered, the National Disaster Photo Rescue restores them, and posts them on their website, so they can be claimed by their owners.

"The photos you can have forever. The memories you can have forever, but that kind of supplements those memories." Haase says.

A collection rally is being held in Baxter Springs Friday at 1 p.m. 
Volunteers are asked to meet at Burgraff Tire on Military Ave. before 1.
For more information on claiming photos, you can visit the National Disaster Photo Rescue's page at:

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