As we begin to get organized for Spring Break, a bunch of items start coming out for packing, the most important being the camera. Capturing memories of precious moments spent with loved ones is a universal tie that binds us all together. The nostalgia of past trips and looking back at photo albums (yes, real books….a thing of the past, I know!) lead me to this amazing story.
In 2006, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, one Kansas woman decided an important way she could help families suffering from their enormous loss and grief of the storm’s aftermath. She would restore some of their damaged photographs. That kind gesture turned into the non-profit Operation Photo Rescue.
When a natural disaster strikes, what is the first item we rush to save? Our photos, which hold the key to our history, our past and our lives. Once victims are safe and have their basic needs met, they begin the process of searching for any remaining possessions. At this point Operation Photo Rescue starts their online fundraising efforts to underwrite their work.
What began as a simple gesture has today turned into a global initiative. This entirely volunteer run organization now has a network of over 2,000 volunteers representing 77 countries where high end cameras digitally copy the damaged photos for restoration. Over 9,000 images have been restored in the past eight years.
The organization’s motto is, “Insurance doesn’t restore memories but we do,” The group’s President, Margie Hayes said recently, “As so often happens when people bring in their damaged photos, you learn that some of the photos are the only ones left of a relative that is no longer living. To be able to restore that memory is beyond words.”
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