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Daughter in Tears After Social Media Helps Restore Father's Damaged Army Photo

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In this time of digital photos and endless scores of selfies, it’s hard to imagine a time when you had one, single, physical copy of an image and that was that.

No reprinting, no taking a dozen photos from a slightly different angle that most people probably won’t notice: one try. You’d keep it tucked away, safe — in a photo album or a picture frame where it would be protected from the elements.

The saddest part is that for those who have only one copy of an image, those images are usually very important. They hail back to a simpler time when a person might have only had a few photographs of them taken during their entire lives, and so those moments captured and printed become incredibly precious.

That was the case for Alexiz Connolly, who had a photo of her dad from 1977. Over the years, the photo had aged, and showed discoloration, and signs of wear and tear.

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The image showed a young Gary Connolly who joined up after the Vietnam War. Fresh out of high school, he headed for the military and served for some time.

Now Gary Connolly is 60 and a pastor, and as his daughter flipped through old photos, she came across this particular one. It captivated her enough to cause her to pause and post it online.

“My dad’s 60th birthday is on Friday and I was gathering his only young photos,” she told BBC News, “one of which was his army photo.” Seeing the state of his military photo, she took to the place where many people go when they have unusual questions, information, or requests: Reddit.

After simply posting the image, someone commented that there was probably someone who could clean it up. “Thank you, I’ll give that a try,” she wrote.

And the rest is history. Less than a day later, a kind redditor posted a cleaned-up version that looked pretty much flawless, and Alexiz had the perfect surprise.

“I’m in tears!” she wrote. “Thank-you so much for this! I feel grateful that anyone would take the time to fix up his photo.”

“I’m overwhelmed by the love my dad’s photo has got,” she said. “It’s also given me the opportunity to ask my dad more questions about his time in the army.”

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“I showed him the photo restoration,” she posted later. “He said he ‘looks like a baby’ and that I should show the internet a photo of his older brother in the army because ‘he was fatter than me back then.’ I think that means he loves it.”

Despite the time and skill that it took to bring this old image back to its former glory, one person’s kindness has touched many others.

Not only do the Connollys know that someone out there cares enough to devote time and energy to their family, but others who have seen this act of kindness take shape online have also been reassured that there are still good Samaritans out there.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking