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Flood Victims Get Photo Restoration Help

Operation Photo Rescue

Pensacola area residents, whose cherished photos were damaged by the April 30, 2014 flood, are getting some help with digital restoration from the group, Operation Photo Rescue. Volunteers from OPR will be in the area this Friday and Saturday (Sept. 26-27), working out of Covenant Hospice in Pensacola from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.  

“All the photos are precious, but sometimes they really, you know it tugs a little bit on the heart a little bit,” said Operation Photo Rescue’s Mike Sluder. He first spoke with WUWF in early August when the organization initially put out a ‘feeler’ to see if there was enough interest and need in the Pensacola area for an onsite visit.

Sluder is part of a growing network of over 2,000 volunteers who’ve traveled all across the globe restoring the photos of survivors of natural disasters. As an example, he traveled to Joplin, Missouri in the aftermath of the devastating EF-5 tornado that hit the area in May 2001.

Sluder says he personally restored a wedding photo for a young woman whose husband was one of 158 people killed by the twister.

It’s very satisfying, because you know obviously there’s no way to reproduce or recreate it or anything. And, people really appreciate it. Many times when they get the photos, they’re in tears because it’s very important,” he said.

Due to the local response to that WUWF interview and other publicity efforts, Operation Photo Rescue made the decision to come to Pensacola. Covenant Hospice is serving as the local community partner and will provide space on the second floor of their office at 2001 North Palafox Street.

Participants are encouraged to bring around 25 flood-damaged photos for restoration, although that number is flexible.

It’s important that the photos have been removed from frames and albums, if possible, and are dry. The process begins with the photos being laid out and measured.

“Once we get everything together, we will take photos over to the copy stand.  And, each of the photos will have a shot taken of them and once it’s done, we will take the pictures back to the owner and we’ll review everything on the camera is okay and ready to go,” said Margie Hayes, president of Operation Photo Rescue.

The photos will be loaded to a secure website. Once each picture goes through the restoration process, it goes to quality control to ensure everything has been done properly before going to print and being returned to their owners.

Again, Operation Photo Rescue will be at Covenant Hospice on 2001 N. Palafox Street this Friday and Saturday, from 9am to 5pm. For more information, go online to www.operationphotorescue.org or call Amy Stamey at Covenant Hospice, 850-512-7790.