Lost In A Tornado, Found On Facebook

Facebook groups help reunite tornado victims with their precious possessions and pets.

One incredible aspect of a tornado is its ability to snatch up people’s possessions–or even their pets–and deposit them far away.


The day after the May 20 tornado in Oklahoma, a woman named Leslie Hagelberg found a family photograph on her front lawn–90 miles away from the storm, in West Tulsa. She started a Facebook group to reunite people with their belongings. The group already has over 11,000 members.

There’s also a separate website and several Facebook groups for lost and found pets.

Facebook has been used in this way after other tornadoes, including the 2011 twisters in Joplin, MO and Alabama. In some cases, people are using the codes from photo printing sites to reunite pictures with their owners.

About the author

She’s the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her next book, The Test, about standardized testing, will be published by Public Affairs in 2015.