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Recovering memories 75 miles away: How social media is helping tornado survivors find lost valuables

Posted at 6:52 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 19:52:37-04

ELKHORN, Neb. (KMTV) — Whether you're near or far from where the tornadoes struck, social media has played a role in helping storm victims recover items once lost.

  • John and Lisa Villwok lost their Blair home to the tornado, losing everything including thousands of printed photos.
  • Through Facebook, they've been able to recover some photos strangers have shared from over 75 miles away.
  • If you find something of value, you can either bring it to Relevant Community Church, or post on these Facebook pages:
    • Nebraska/Iowa 2024 tornado lost and found
    • Nebraska Strong: Helping Families Impacted By the 2024 Tornadoes

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Whether you're near or far from where the tornadoes struck, social media has played a role in helping storm victims recover items once lost.

“So, we were celebrating dogs’ birthdays it just makes you laugh. We remember that great day."

Memories...

"There was a lot of high school pictures, Boot Camp pictures."

That John and Lisa Villwok can look back on and smile, even after losing almost everything in their Blair home.

Including thousands of printed photos.

"And I could see the cabinets that they were just scattered everywhere. Drawers were pulled out,” said Lisa.

But it wasn't long until friends of friends of friends started posting pictures they found, miles away, that the family realized, not all of their memories were lost.

"So, we found some in Cargill today someone just posted a photo that is ours. We've had them in Oto, Iowa. We've had them in Correctionville, Iowa, up to 75 miles away,” said John.

Strangers helping one another in a time of need.

But some have found other ways to help beyond posting on socials.

"Out of all the things that you have you can replace you can't really replace real photographs. Fortunately, that's a gift that I've been given and so I decided that's one way I can help."

Kat Jones has been doing photo restorations for about 20 years and was able to restore several photos for families, including a photo for the Villwok’s.

"Having a digital copy might give them some peace of mind, knowing that they will never have to worry about losing it again,” said Kat.

"It means a lot to people that have the photos,” said Lisa.

If you're out cleaning up and find something of value, you can either bring it to the Relevant Community Church, or if you're outside of Elkhorn, post it online. You never know who it could be helping.