The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 3, 2011

Group trying to reunite families, rescued photos in wake of Joplin tornado

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The tides have turned at Carthage First Baptist Church.

The boxes of processed photos from the May 22 tornado in Joplin now outweigh the photos still waiting to be processed by a margin of 2-to-1.

On one side of an upstairs room, there are 20 boxes of carefully cleaned, numbered, scanned and archived photographs waiting to be claimed by their owners.

On the other side, 10 boxes await processing.

The numbers of photos lost and then found have fluctuated significantly since the Globe first spoke with the volunteers in early June. At that time, less than 500 had been collected and posted by Lost Photos Project founder Angela Walters, of Pryor, Okla.

Walters soon realized that with more coming in each day, she would need help. By July, the church had signed on to help in a partnership with Walters, the American Red Cross and Office Depot. At the time, the group believed it had about 8,000 photos.

27,000 FOUND PHOTOS

On Monday, volunteer Margaret Hagenbaumer estimated that the number has swelled to 27,000.

“But we just got some this week; we are still getting them,” she said.

The room looks different than it did in July. Then, it was filled with folding tables strewn with found photographs, many still damp and covered in grime. Fans and a dehumidifier blew, and volunteers worked to gently clean the photos with fabric softener contributed by a local coin-operated laundry.

Since then, the group has acquired scanners, a computer, archival envelopes and boxes, and has put in place a system that rivals that of the National Archives.

Hagenbaumer, who coordinates the scheduling of volunteers, said five teams of three people work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as occasional evenings and Saturdays.

Each team member has a task. One scans the photos to digital images. One places a sticker on the back of each photo, and a corresponding sticker on an envelope with the box number, folder number and photograph number. One checks the numbers.

“The least little mistake in the numbering system could really foul us up,” Hagenbaumer said. “We critique each other very politely.”

The digital versions of the photographs are put on a flash drive and given to Walters, who posts the images to www.joplinrescuedphotos.org.

“If somebody says, ‘Oh that’s my picture,’ you can go through the file,” said Hagenbaumer. “They tell us the number; we can get the folder and hand them the picture.”

Volunteers keep all letters included with the photos from those who found them.

“We tried to kind of make any notes of where they were found, because meteorologists are interested in the information of where these pictures landed, which told them a lot of information about how tornadoes track,” Hagenbaumer said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter