Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

Saving Joplin’s Photos


Joplin MO, June 4, 2011–The EF-5 tornado on May 22, tore a path through Joplin seven miles long and half a mile wide. FEMA is in the city to provide assistance to the disaster survivors. FEMA Photographers: Jace Anderson (front) and Steve Zumwalt.


Operation Photo Rescue is planning a copy run to Joplin, MO October 7-8 at the Joplin Public Library, 300 S. Main Street. The hours of operation will be 9 am to 6 pm Friday and Saturday.

A lot of planning has gone into finding a suitable place to hold the copy run. Thanks goes to Victoria Johnson, System & Web Administrator at Olin Library, Drury University, Springfield, MO. Victoria is OPR’s contact person and has worked tirelessly in promoting our event. Drury University print department donated printing for 200 OPR brochures. Randy Henderson, long time OPR volunteer and Victoria’s husband gave an interview to KSN TV and Randy’s real estate donated the cost of having OPR posters printed. See Interview

Originally it was planned to have the copy run at Missouri Southern State University and Wendy McCrane, Library Director, was gracious to offer us space. Unfortunately, due to school being back in session there was going to be problems of parking on Friday. Wendy and Victoria then contacted Jacque Gage Director of the Joplin Public Library to see if they might have a meeting room available for us in Octorber. Jacque was able to secure a meeting room and here is what he had to say: “It sounds like a GREAT project and I was really impressed by some of the ‘befores’ and ‘afters’ on their website!”


The EF-5 tornado that tore through Joplin on May 22 destroyed one third of the town and killed 159 people. Because of the scope of the destruction, OPR decided to move the date from September to October. Destruction from a tornado presents a different challenge to saving photos, because so many are blown miles from their home. In Joplin photos have been reported as far away as 218 miles. Immediately after the tornado, Angela Walters of Pryor, OK saw the need to rescue photos from the debris. She set up a Facebook account called: Lost Photos of Joplin and teamed up with the First Baptist Church of Carthade.  To read more about more about the race to save the photos, see Scattered Lives in the Joplin Globe. At the time of the article the photo count was 8,000 and now it stands at 16,000 plus.

Operation Photo Rescue is happy to be in partnership with Lost Photos of Joplin and the First Baptist Church in Carthage. Besides the church, people may also drop off found photos at any of the Southwest Missouri Bank locations. This photo project is the only one authorized by the City of Joplin to house the recovered photos.

Margie Hayes President
Operation Photo Rescue


2 Responses to “Saving Joplin’s Photos”
  1. RGV says:

    awesome post! Keep up the great work!


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  1. […] KSMU: Operation Photo Rescue helping Joplin victims restore photos. Operation Photo Rescue, which helps restore damaged photos, will be in Joplin on Oct. 7-8 to help victims of the May tornado. Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed