National Disaster Photo rescue helps reunite victims with photos

FOUR STAE AREA — An organization that helped reunite photos, lost in the tornado, with their rightful owners continues its mission. And – it also continues to help others.

Amid the debris of the May 22nd, 2011 Joplin tornado were photos like these. How to get them back to the families that lost them in the storm was the goal of a group called The Lost Photos of Joplin. But since that time the organization has undergone a name change to The National Disaster Photo Rescue.

Executive Director Thad Beeler explains why.

Thad Beeler, Executive Director, National Disaster Photo Rescue, said, “We’ve helped with other communities and other places around the world, even in Japan when they had the tsunami, but we’ve even given assistance to and after the wildfires in California a couple years ago, but we’ve been in Texas, we’ve been in Kansas, we’ve been in Illinois, we’ve been in Arkansas, we’ve been in Oklahoma.”

Even though the volunteer organization has branched out to help others outside the Four States, they remain committed to returning as many local photos as possible.

“We’ve collected so many images, but what we’ve done is we didn’t just hold on to them, over 18,000 almost 19,000 to date have gone to home to over a thousand homes in Joplin alone, one of our greatest success stories is here even locally with Baxter Springs, Kansas where we collected over 3,500 images and returned all but 8.”

The organization has a website where you can search for lost photos or documents.

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