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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was exactly one month ago today that hundreds of North Texas families lost everything when tornados cut a path through the metroplex.

Talk to some survivors and they say each day is a step forward – that is evident with the progress that has been made in Garland. While cities are in different stages of recovery, people continue to come together to help the hardest hit areas move forward.

It’s been four weeks since a deadly EF-4 tornado touched down in Garland. Debris removal crews are finishing up the second pass through the city. They are gathering up and moving out rubble from the storms, so new building can begin.

The process may take longer in Rowlett, where a wider debris field could mean a clean up time between 10 and 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, volunteers from non-profit organizations and churches remain in the affected areas to help with a range of needs.

For those still in need of guidance, a free tornado recovery program will be held at Eastfield College today. Sessions, which include information on everything from navigating the insurance process to working with FEMA on disaster relief claims to handling contractors, begin at 2:45 p.m.

The event will be held in the G Building of Eastfield College, located at 737 Motley Drive, Mesquite, TX 75150.

tornado stuff (Andrea Lucia - CBS11)

tornado stuff (Andrea Lucia – CBS11)

One group of volunteers just arrived in North Texas to help families reconnect with some of their most precious possessions.

The mission of National Disaster Photo Rescue is to reunite residents with some of their smallest possessions. Given the size and path of the December 26 tornadoes, volunteers think it’s possible the wind could have carried photos all the way to Oklahoma.

Photographs scooped up and carried off by the wind have an intangible value. Disaster Photo Rescue hopes to bring that ‘wealth’ back to as many people as possible.

Members of the group have already begun searching for and collecting photos in Garland and Rowlett. They’ll collect, clean, and scan the pictures, and then upload them to social media in the hope the rightful owners can be found.

The group formed after a Missouri church’s efforts to help victims of the Joplin tornado in 2011. After those storms, the group was able to return some 18,000 photos to families who lost them. They hope to have that same kind of success here.

Volunteer James Ford helped a tornado survivor while at a church in Rowlett today. He said the unexpected surprise she found moved her to tears. “She stopped and wanted to look at them [photos] and so I waited on her. She found two pictures that was [sic] hers — I think they were her kids, I’m not sure. Tears started coming out of her eyes… started to cry. So she started was calling for her husband and they were really happy to find those two pictures. ”

The process to find, clean and log the photos will take weeks, but nearly two-dozen volunteers are dedicating their time to help. The service is free.

The group is asking anyone who has found pictures to drop them of at one of the following collection sites –

  • Granger Recreation Center
    1310 W. Avenue F
    Garland, TX 75040
  • Garland Fire Department Station 5
    5626 Lyons Road
    Garland, TX 75043
  • Life Message Community Mission
    4501 Rowlett Rd #200
    Rowlett, TX 75088
  • Church in the City
    6005 Dalrock Road
    Rowlett, TX 75088
  • Farmersville Police Department
    134 N Washington Street
    Farmersville, TX 75442

Photos that have been located and preserved will eventually be posted on the National Disaster Photo Rescue Facebook page.

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