December 27, 2011 2:40:00 PM
By JEFF MARTIN
ATLANTA -- In the weeks and months after tornadoes tore through homes across the South, pictures and documents rained on yards hundreds of miles away.
An Alabama woman began collecting them in an online database, posting the cherished scraps of people's lives on Facebook so they could be identified and claimed by grateful families.
Now, eight months after the April tornadoes struck in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, Patty Bullion says she plans to discontinue the online clearinghouse of pictures and documents.
"I've done a whole lot of praying about it and I feel like it's just time to take it down and move on," she told The Associated Press on Monday.
She created the site hours after the tornadoes hit on April 27, when several photos and scraps of paper were found in her neighborhood in the northern Alabama town of Lester.
"My husband went out to help that night," she recalls. "Me and the kids sat there and talked and decided we need to get those pictures back home."
Bullion said she will leave the Facebook page up for a couple more weeks, then take it down and focus on other things in her life.
The images from wedding albums, children's birthdays and other moments of life are highly personal. They include pages from Bibles, personal cards and letters and a woman's ultrasound photo.
"I hate to leave it on display forever," she said.
More than 2,000 pictures and documents were returned to their owners through the Facebook site, she said.
Bullion says she still has a large box of unclaimed pictures and documents, and plans to make some trips in January to some towns that were hard-hit by the storms in hopes that some of those items can still be claimed.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
1. Starkville considering downtown parking meters STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
2. City-owned lot in downtown listed for sale COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Dispatch wins 15 press association awards COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY