Almost three months after the Good Friday tornado, Murfreesboro’s Linebaugh Public Library is still helping people find mementos blown out of their homes in the storm.
A few yards away from the library’s circulation desk, a freestanding billboard is covered on both sides with school portraits and holiday snaphots. Some are water damaged and crumpled, like the black and white picture of a soldier being pinned with a medal. Others seem surprisingly unharmed.
The first photo was brought in the day after the tornado by a patron who wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. The staff quickly decided the best way they could help their community recover from the storm was to serve as the lost and found for irreplaceable personal items.
Many of the items turned into the library have ended up back with their owners. Library director Rita Shacklett says she recognized a face in one old photo as soon as she saw it.
”It was one of my old girl scouts, and I went ‘Oh my gosh, I’ll see her mother on Sunday.’ And her mother had lost her house. She was sitting in the closet when her house fell around her, and here’s her daughter’s senior picture in perfect shape, and it was just-wow.”
People are still bringing in new items and poring over the board to find familiar faces. As long as that goes on, Shacklett says the board will stay up.