Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Volunteers help to restore flood-damaged photos

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Flood victims have volunteers to thank, for saving some precious memories. Operation Photo Rescue, a non-profit that began during Hurricane Katrina aftermath, is at the Goodwood Library. They’re helping make damaged photos look brand new, free of charge.

 This process, an emotional one for flood victims, as they revisit memories and damage left from the flood.

 “These pictures, you can’t just ‘get back.’ The number of tears I’ve cried,” said flood victim, Kathleen Anthony.

Anthony’s home flooded and in the process, the water destroyed hundreds of albums and decades of photos.

However, it's more than just the memories that she wants back. Anthony wants to be able to look at pictures of her son again.

 “Some of the pictures, are of my son, he died when he was 32, he had leukemia, and you know you can't just get those pictures back,” said Anthony, with tears in her eyes.

However, volunteers here are working to prove to Anthony and other flood victims that their photos have a very good chance of being restored in their hands.

 “We’ve restored over 13, 000 photos,” said President Margie Hayes.

 After volunteering for a decade, even Hayes gets emotional when she remembers the people’s lives she’s touched.

 The entire process takes anywhere from six to twelve months, but once the photos are restored, people will have the memories physically, electronically, and back in their lives, all together.

 This gift is something married couple of 56 years, Robert and Barbara Mills, said is invaluable.

“It just makes you very sad to think of what can be destroyed in minutes. It’s very traumatic,” said Robert Mills.

 The Mills are hoping to restore some of their photos, such as the originals of their parents, and memories from in their twenties when the couple first fell in love.

 "This is when I was 21 and we just started dating,” said Barbara Mills, pointing to a photograph of a much younger Barbara Mills, posing in front of a baby blue convertible.

“I hope they can restore this one.”

 While it’s an emotional process, it’s also a healing one, as flood victims not only restore their photographs, but their hope, as well.

 “It really makes you happy, because you think you can't get them back, and especially for my son, you know,” said Anthony.

 The photo restoration will continue at the Goodwood Library Saturday April 22nd, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There is a limit of 20 photographs per family.


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