Alarm Company Gives Lift to Tornado Victims

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.— In the aftermath of an F4 tornado that swept through the greater Kansas City-area on May 4, 2003, and left seven dead, Atronic Alarms Quality Assurance Specialist Shaunn Jastrzembski was just thankful to be alive. The tornado had swept close to his house, but spared it. While walking through the debris of broken homes and destroyed lives that littered his yard, he found several pictures.

Those pictures helped spark an idea for Overland Park, Kan.-based Atronic Alarms to help those affected by tornadoes and other storm disasters. Atronic now runs a Web site —— that features scans of photos recovered from storm-damage debris and gives a place for people to recover valuable photos they thought were lost.

The idea came about shortly after the 2003 tornado disaster when Atronic Vice President John Erickson gathered with employees and pondered what they could do to help victims of the disaster. The biggest question on their minds was if the disaster had happened to them, what would they miss the most.

That’s when Jastrzembski brought up the pictures.

“One of our employees was talking about how he found some pictures and didn’t know what to do with them. I said we could put it on our Web site,” Erickson says. “It just stemmed from that.”

Since then, Atronic employees have volunteered their time and put up the “Tornado Assist Lost Picture Page” using nothing more than a scanner, a computer and their time. More than 60 pictures have been posted on the site and several of those visual memories have been reunited with loved ones.

As to why an alarm company would do something like this, Erickson says it’s just an extension of what they do when they install a system for a customer. “It’s been our philosophy with our security systems to protect the things you can’t replace.”

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