A group established in Carthage to help survivors of the May 22, 2011 Joplin tornado is reaching out to survivors of the Moore, Okla., community.
The National Disaster Photo Rescue is a non-profit organization committed to returning lost photographs and these memories to their owners.
The group, based in the First Baptist Church of Carthage, has decided immediately to help by retrieving photos from public right-of-ways.
To inquire, visit www.NationalDisasterPhotoRescue.net or the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LostPhotosOfMooreOK.
Thad Beeler, Carthage, with National Disaster Photo Rescue, said the organization is designed to assist communities by training the local community to properly retrieve, clean, sort, scan, process, file, post and reunify photos back to their owners.
The National Disaster Photo Rescue collected, cleaned, scanned and filed more than 35,000 photos from the May 22, 2011 Joplin EF-5 tornado. More than 16,000 photos have been returned to date.
Beeler said the group is reaching out to the tornado victims in Oklahoma to try to help them recover photos and documents that, like in the Joplin tornado, were carried miles away from the homes that were destroyed.
“We've got a process and we know what to do and we want to take what we've learned and help others across the country,” Beeler said. “I've been working with local people in Moore over social media to help them get started. I just found out that the Red Cross has thousands of photos and documents already collected and ready to turn over to someone.”
Beeler said recovering photos and documents won't become a priority until after the search and rescue efforts are completed, but he hopes to go to Moore soon to help them set up a recovery system for photos and documents.
In the meantime, the group is looking for sponsors to help them purchase a computer and scanners to help them with the recovery process.
The group set up a tent and brought notebooks to Wednesday's ceremony at Cunningham Park, marking the second anniversary of the Joplin tornado, and was able to reunite a few people with lost photos at that event.
Potential volunteers can sign-up online at www.nationaldisasterphotorescue.net. Volunteers are needed immediately for retrieval teams. Community agencies and businesses are needed for temporary photo and document collection sites. Churches and civic organizations can sign-up to volunteer a team or youth group for summer coordination. Individuals and organizations wanting to donate, to cover office supplies can do so on the website.
From it’s inception and now the future, the National Disaster Photo Rescue is committed to returning lost memories to their owners. Because….Every Photo is “Worth a Thousand Words…”