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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Facebook page aids return of photos and documents to tornado victims

A special Facebook community page has been set up in an attempt to reunite victims of last week's devastating tornadoes with their personal photos, documents and other belongings. The page, named "Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes," already has more than 88,000 likes and contains more than 2,000 uploaded photos. Recent posts contain photos of original birth certificates, army discharge papers, wedding photos and other personal items that would be difficult or impossible to replace. One post today shows a check found in Athens, AL and written to Edna Nix of Phil Campbell, AL. Within a minute someone replied to sadly say Nix had died in the storm. Many other stories have much happier endings, with people reporting they have been in contact with the owners of the photos they found.

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The community page was set up by northern Alabama resident Patty Bullion after she found some pictures in her yard, including the ultrasound of an unborn baby. "I wanted to be able to get these pictures back to their owners so that they could at least have a few of their memories back," Bullion said. The page has a simple purpose, stated in the info section:

"Please post pictures or pictures of other items that were found as debris after the 4/27/2011 tornadoes. Please leave a brief description of how someone can find you if they identify pictures or items that belong to them. My email is pbull35@hughes.net if I can assist someone in anyway with returning items."

Items have been found in cities all over Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and other neighboring states and posts continue to come in every few minutes with people clinging to the hope that they can help someone cope with their loss by returning a cherished belonging. Bullion said today that more than 200 items have been returned to their owners.

This is technology and social media at its best and Bullion, along with all the others who are contributing to this effort, is making a big difference in the lives of the tornado victims.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 9:59pm]

    

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