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


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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