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Family searches for fallen sailor’s photo lost in tornado

By Andrew Mollenbeck

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    BARNUM, Iowa (KCCI) — A tornado that left a path of destruction near Barnum in Webster County also blew away a family’s treasured possession: A custom-made photo of a fallen sailor.

The 24-by-36-inch photo of Joseph Richardson, a Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic, had been displayed on a shelf in front of the picture window at Danelle and Randy Lenz’s acreage.

Following his death in 2009, Richardson’s squadron sent his sister, Danelle Lenz, the specially-designed image.

“It’s one of the last pictures that I have of him,” Danelle said. “It was from the Navy cruise that he was on the year before he passed.”

The Dec. 15 tornado sent debris flying miles from the Lenz’s acreage. While neighbors on four-wheelers have searched for the photo, nothing has turned up in the first week.

“I’m expecting if we do find it, it’s not going to be in too great of condition, but that would be ok,” Danelle said. “If I could just get it back, that would be a shock but it would just be a kind of bright light in the situation.”

Like others whose homes or properties were lost to the unusual December storms, the Lenz’ said they’ll be able to recover.

“Everything else can kind of be replaced except for that picture,” said Danelle. “That’s the main thing I’m focused on right now.”

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