Sunday, July 7, 2013

Samaritan Sunday (July 7, 2013) -- Helping Tornado Victims Reunite With Precious Family Artifacts

[If you should choose to adopt this prompt to contribute stories of folks who have gone out of their way to lend genealogy-related assistance to others, I would greatly appreciate a mention to Filiopietism Prism whenever you do so.  Thank you!  And please do use the same photograph below to illustrate the prompt.  ;-) ]

In the last few years it seems that there have been an unusual number of devastating tornadoes around the country.  In the paths of destruction there have been many lost and damaged lives -- and there has also been a tremendous loss of family mementos, artifacts, documents, photographs, etc. 

In April 2011 there was an awful tornado in Alabama.  After the tornado passed over Lester, Alabama, a trail of debris was left behind that included someone's scattered photographs all over the yard of Patty Bullion of Lester.  Patty survived the tornado, but in the destruction left behind she found the family photographs of complete strangers looking at her from all over her yard.  She was moved to action and decided to use social media to attempt to reunite people with their lost family photographs.  She took to Facebook and began posting scanned images of the photographs recovered from her yard.  Patty began a movement as others posted images of items they found after the tornado wrought its path of destruction.  Patty and her fellow Good Samaritans posted in excess of 600 items including photographs, lost letters, a high school diploma, heirloom items and even a fetal ultrasound. 

You can see here how found photographs from the April 2011 tornado were restored in an attempt to help those who lost these family mementos.  And you can see how other Good Samaritans have tried to reunite people with precious family possessions lost during a March 2, 2012 tornado here

Kudos to all these Good Samaritans and their creative use of social media to restore lost items of family history to those so devastated by these violent and often fatal storms!

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Photograph of the The Good Samaritan sculpture by Francois-Leon Sicard (1862 - 1934).  The sculpture is located in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France.  The photograph is by Marie-Lan Nguyen and has been placed in the public domain by her. See,
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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