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'Not replaceable': Library hopes to return lost pictures to owners after tornadoes

Posted at 6:55 PM, May 29, 2024

PRYOR, Okla. — One library is trying to reunite photos thrown from the tornado that touched down in Claremore and Pryor.

The Thomas J. Harrison Pryor Public Library aims to find the owners of photographs around the towns.

"We’ll keep them as long as we need to until they’re ready to come get them and if that is never, that is also fine," said Library Direct Cari Rerat.

It all started with a Facebook post.

Rerat is all too familiar with what it means to get your things back. She and her husband survived the 2011 EF5 Joplin tornado, and she said that her home was taken to the studs.

However, it wasn't until the cleanup that she realized how far some things went.

"An old, expired credit card was found of mine, and two counties over in a haybale, and both of those things came back to us," said Rerat

It was one of the reasons that she wanted to help. She is asking community members to come drop off photos so they can look for their owners.  

"These are memories that are not replaceable," she said while looking at the photos.

The front of the library holds the memorial for the 52 people killed during the 1942 Pryor tornado.

She said the monument is a reminder of the strength of the Pryor community. She hopes as people bring in photos, they understand the impact they’re making.
"It’s nice to see people come together with a common goal of helping the community. Get back on its feet and get to a point where they can start to rebuild," said Rerat.

These keepsakes will be at the Pryor Public Library for as long as necessary.

As the library gets more photos they will share them on their Facebook page.

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