Photos lost in the Joplin tornado returning to owners after almost a decade


JOPLIN, Mo. — Nearly a decade after the 2011 Joplin tornado, more lost photos are coming to light.

Thad Beeler, Natl. Disaster Photo Rescue, said, “After 9&1/2 years, you would think the pictures from the tornado would stop. But believe it or not, they have not.”

In fact, 3,000 previously unseen images just this month. And Thad Beeler is hoping to connect with folks still missing images.

“We need their help to get these home.”

He’s the head of the National Disaster Photo Rescue, founded in Joplin after the 2011 tornado. New technology means the process has changed a lot since then, but the goal’s the same.

“The whole reason we started this organization was so people could help their neighbors photos and documents go to rightful owner.”

They’ve added a trailer to make it easier to take everything they need on the road. Which could be just about anywhere.

“Garland and Rowlett, Tx. We’ve helped folks in the Conway, Ar. area, Springfield, Il. area. Not to mention providing logistical help for people that were in Japan as far as the tsunami.”

The group needs volunteers. Many of those they depend on are elderly and more at risk due to the pandemic.

“People who would normally work together have to put distance between themselves.”

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