In May 2008, the city of Parkersburg experienced a devastating EF5 tornado that killed nine people and demolished homes
An Iowa woman has recovered a sentimental treasure lost during a devastating tornado that swept through her town nearly 16 years ago.
Last month, Marcia Mull's daughter, Hope Tomkins, happened to spot a Facebook post from the City of Parkersburg featuring an old wedding photo with two familiar faces, according to local news outlet KGAN.
"Does anyone recognize this couple?" the post read. "One of the many unclaimed tornado items from over the years. Cleaning out the closet at city hall and we found this! Let’s see if we can locate the family of the couple in this photo!"
Within 15 minutes of the post going live, Tomkins replied in the comments, "That is my grandpa and grandma!"
Mull was soon reunited with the photo of her parents that she feared had been lost for good. Asked what it means to have the precious keepsake back, she told KGAN, "Oh, it means remembering things from my mom and dad and stuff that we did.”
She said her father, who is dressed in a military uniform in the wedding picture, fought in World War II and took part in the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France.
On May 25, 2008, an EF5 tornado packing winds at around 205 miles per hour tore through Parkersburg, killing nine people. An area along Highway 14 was hit particularly hard, with homes ripped from their foundations, per KGAN.
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One of those homes belonged to Tomkins, and when she and Mull returned there after the storm, they discovered they had lost everything, including the wedding photo.
“We sat there and just… It was just devastating,” Mull told KGAN.
Parkersburg City Administrator Christopher Luhring, who lost an aunt in the tornado, told the outlet that the city recovered thousands of valuable items belonging to residents after the storm, many of which have since been returned. He said seeing Mull reunited with her parents' wedding photo is heartwarming after such a tragedy in the community.
“We’ve had so many good stories in the last 16 years to come out. It’s just awesome to reflect on what that picture meant. But then to see the excitement and the joy in the family that got it back is pretty cool,” he told KGAN.
In a similar story last month, a woman was browsing for picture frames at a Virginia auction when she came across a set that still had a bride's wedding photos under the glass.
Sandra Poindexter posted pictures of the framed photos on Facebook, hoping to track down the mystery bride. “I just thought, somebody's bound to want these, they're just gorgeous," she said, according to ABC 7.
Donna Reichard saw Poindexter's post and jumped in to help, managing to locate the bride, 85-year-old Harriet Galbraith.
“I was shocked because I had always wanted those pictures back," Galbraith told ABC 7 of learning her photos had been found. "They've been somewhere all these years."
After shipping the photos to Gailbraith, who lives in Texas, Poindexter told PEOPLE, "Returning these missing bridal photos has made me so happy. When I learned how Harriet has looked for them and missed them over those decades I was so excited for her! I wish I could be there when she opens the package."
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