Beauregard, AL (WTVM) - A Facebook group is matching tornado survivors with personal belongings like pictures, pillows and even pets.
Angelita Hitchcock and her family were taking a post-church nap the afternoon of the tornado when she got the alert on her phone.
“As a mom, your instinct kicks in and you get your babies to safety,” she said.
Though her house was still standing, her windows were gone, the back wall had collapsed and debris was everywhere. And where a back shed once stood, there was nothing.
“Our pictures, all the kids baby pictures had been taken out to the work shed so we could work on a surprise present for our oldest for her graduation," Hitchcock said. "Once I saw that was gone, I knew they were gone.”
Hitchcock assumed all her family’s pictures were gone for good, shredded by the windor blown so far that no one would be able to return them.
But a local Facebook group is bringing people back together with their personal items. It’s called called Lost Treasures and Photographs for Beauregard Tornado Victims, and it’s how Hitchcock was reunited with some of her missing photos.
“I’m thankful for everyone who has found things and taken them back to their owners," she said. "It’s little things that matter.”
Someone miles away had found the photos and took them to Providence Baptist Church. One woman posted about them in the Facebook group, and soon Hitchcock had them back.
“I just clung to them," she said. “I was holding tightly to them. There’s probably crinkles in them. It was overwhelming. I have one picture of my baby when she was two.”
Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland said helping others out is just what people around here do for one another.
"We're in Alabama. We believe in the golden rule. Do unto others as they do unto you."
Smiths Station City Hall is also accepting personal items that people find. Copeland said they will keep them safe until hopefully finding who the items belong to.
Other locations to drop off found items are Lee County volunteer reception centers.