Hurricane Sandy: Family Photo Rescue Team Springs Into Action
As the recovery progresses in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, residents of Union Beach and the surrounding towns are working with first responders to provide the essentials of daily life including shelter, food and health care. In the midst of their own personal losses during this time, two amazing women are also on a mission to help others recover and preserve their family photos.
Family Photos: Memories Matter
During difficult times we look to our families for support, to the familiar for comfort and to our own memories of better times to get us through. But what if your memories, in the form of family photos, are missing along with all of your other worldly possessions?
Precious family photos, even entire wedding albums, scrapbooks and more, started washing up on the New Jersey shore almost immediately after Sandy had passed. While many pictures are damaged beyond repair due to the effects of sea water and the elements, a short window exists to capture a digital version of these images and preserve them before they are lost forever.
Mary Danielsen and Jeannette Van Houten have been working hard via the media, social networking and any available channel to not only scan and post these found images, but to also solicit help from the local community. With so many losses on the local level and a shortage of resources, Mary and Jeannette are now reaching out to the greater community for assistance.
Photo Scanning Drive: December 1-2, 2012 in Union Beach, New Jersey
Volunteers and members of the Flip-Pal Cares rescue response team and Boy Scout troops from nearby Monmouth County will be using donated Flip-Pal mobile scanners to digitally scan thousands of photos, wedding albums and scrapbooks collected from the shoreline, wetlands and other piles of debris. All scanned photographs will be posted on Facebook for their owners to claim. Residents who have found additional photos can bring them to the event or drop them off at the Union Beach Municipal Building.
“People have suffered a tremendous amount of loss due to Hurricane Sandy and if providing our scanners and supporting the photo recovery project helps people to get their photos back, then we are grateful to be helping in some small way,” commented Gordon Nuttall, CEO of Couragent, makers of Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
How You Can Help
Members of the public are invited to volunteer for the Union Beach Photo Scanning Drive this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2. This Saturday the scanning drive will be from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Sports Authority, located at 3434 Highway 35 in Hazlet, NJ. On Sunday the scanning drive will be from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Home Depot, located at 3700 Highway 35 in Hazlet, NJ.
Those wishing to make a monetary donation to help defray supply costs can go to Restoring Union Beach Memories at http://www.gofundme.com/1k3w9c. This is a fundraising site set up by local Union Beach Photo Scanning coordinators, Jeanette Van Houten and personal historian Mary Danielsen.
“My name is Jeannette Van Houten. I have been a resident of Union Beach, NJ for the past 42 years. On October 29, 2012 Sandy the Superstorm devastated my small town. When we woke on October 30, 2012 our lives had changed forever. Many families lost their homes and possessions. I made it my mission to give my friends and family something extremely special to each and every one, I want to return their photos that have been found. I have been cleaning, drying and scanning the photos that I have found and I am now moving on to the photos that others turned in. I would like to do 3 things: 1) purchase battery operated scanners so I can have multiple people scanning photos at the same time; 2) purchase external storage to back up the scans so professional restorers can work on the damaged photos; and 3) purchase gift cards so families can reprint some of the precious photos.”
Stay Updated On The Recovery Effort
- Check back next week when we’ll have a report on Gordon’s visit to Union Beach and the efforts to help scan and preserve the precious family photos that have been recovered so far.
Also, you can read more about Jeannette and Mary’s efforts and the photos that are washing up on beaches in New Jersey each and every day: