NORMAN — Some Moore residents who lost their homes in the May 20 tornado reclaimed pieces of their family history Saturday when they were reunited with photos ripped away by the storm.
“It’s been very emotional for the people to see photos they thought they’d never see again,” said Angela Madory, public relations coordinator for Oklahoma Photo Rescue.
A woman sat at a table surrounded by her family after discovering photos of her husband who had passed away. When an Oklahoma Photo Rescue volunteer handed her an envelope with the pictures, she got up and gave the other woman a long hug. An irreplaceable memory reclaimed.
Just across the room, another woman battled her tears as she pointed out a picture of a baby in a battered frame. It was hers. The tears started flowing freely when she found another picture of a toddler. Volunteers handed her tissues as they explained how to claim the photographs. But now the woman was on a mission and kept perusing the rows of photos that were laid out in the community room at the Suburban Baptist Church in Moore.
Taryn Walker was studying the line up of photos in search of familiar faces.
“My father’s house, I had moved out by then but, the house I grew up in was destroyed,” she said.
“We actually found a lot in the rubble. But this morning I got a call from a friend who said they saw one of us in a picture. Now I am looking for memories I can’t even think of right now,” Walker added.
Aiming to rescue photographs that people lost in the tornado, the all-volunteer-based non-profit organization, Oklahoma Photo Rescue, has put in more than 3,600 volunteer hours since the storm, Madory said.
Volunteers started the project just days after the storm as they combed through debris and collected pictures.