Monday’s devastating tornado strike in Moore, Okla., ripped through many homes, displacing irreplaceable possessions, in some cases, more than 100 miles away. In an attempt to reconnect victims with lost valuables, Facebook users across Moore and neighboring areas have created online groups to share information of found items and pets.
Tulsa, Okla., resident Leslie Hagelberg lives roughly 100 miles from where the tornado touched down, but when she began seeing what she realized was storm debris in the form of family pictures and other valuables turn up in her yard, she wanted to help get these items back in the hands of the owners.
Hagelberg quickly created the Facebook group “OK Tornado Doc & Picture Recovery” to act as a bulletin board of sorts, allowing users that have found items and pets to post images and information all in one place.
“I have children. My pictures are precious to me… you can’t recreate them.”
Hagelberg got the idea to create an online lost and found type Facebook group after seeing posts spread out among several other local news Facebook pages. Hagelberg’s group currently has over 8,600 members.
“There have been so many posts of animals, pictures, even an urn,” the longtime Oklahoma resident said. Though Hagelberg was originally surprised to find displaced belongings turn up in her neighborhood, about an hour from Moore, Facebook users from even further away have reported finding items.
“Some people have found things in Catoosa [about 125 miles from Moore]. I’ve even heard of things turning up in the Joplin area [over 200 miles from Moore],” said Hagelberg.
For a Facebook user to post to the group page, they must first be manually added by one of the three administrators, Hagelberg being one of them. With the number of group members approaching 9,000, Hagelberg admitted that the task has been tedious, but she told ABC News, “I just want to help.”
“That’s just how people are in Oklahoma,” she said.