In the old photograph, a woman in a sleeveless dress, her hair wound in a kerchief, sits with a young boy perched on her lap. On the back, written in careful cursive, are the words “Gertie Swatzell & J.D. Swatzell 1942.”
The family heirloom made its way from Dawson Springs, Kentucky, to New Albany, Indiana, a distance of nearly 130 miles, where Katie Posten found it Saturday morning stuck to the window of her car.
The snapshot’s journey was courtesy of a disastrous tornado that ravaged parts of Kentucky and killed dozens.
“The tornado that ripped through Kentucky last night seems to have dissipated just a bit southwest of us, and it’s said to have carried debris up into the sky up to 7 miles or more, so no doubt that it came from a home in the path of destruction,” Posten wrote on her Facebook page, accompanied by photos of the photo.
“Sharing in hopes of finding its owners,” she said.
And that’s exactly what happened.
A friend tagged another friend named Cole Swatzell, who wrote the photo belonged to his family members. Plans were made to meet up later this week to hand over the treasured memento. “I’ve been in touch with a family member and we are making a plan to get the photo back to them,” Posten wrote in an update on her social media site.
The damage and destruction unleashed by tornadoes that ripped through at least five states over the weekend is heartbreaking. Kentucky was hardest hit, with 64 reported dead as of Monday. But Gov. Andy Beshear said that figure “is fluid” and “will change.”
The small town of Mayfield was virtually leveled by monstrous winds that blasted downtown into piles of rubble. A candle factory became a shaking nightmare for more than 100 employees toiling away on Christmas orders. The building collapsed, pinning screaming workers in debris that just kept shifting.
Kyanna Parsons-Perez went live on Facebook in the pitch dark, begging for someone to come help the trapped employees. She was unable to feel her legs, she told Inside Edition.
First responders “told us not to move, cause if we move, it’ll cause the stuff to fall more,” she said. Finally freed, she was able to walk to freedom.
Emergency workers are still combing the mangled mess, looking for bodies. At least eight workers were believed to have been killed.