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Published: Sunday, 11/17/2002

Family photo driven by storm headed back to Van Wert area

Photographs of smiling families remain scattered throughout the region, ripped from their places atop mantles and on bookcases by last week's tornadoes.

But one of those wind-driven photos is heading home.

The photo shows Lisa Brincefield, of Middle Point, Ohio, with three of her six children. It was taken about 12 years ago.

“That's the only picture I have of me and my kids,” Ms. Brincefield said. “My mom had it over her fireplace.”

The Van Wert, Ohio, home belonging to Ms. Brincefield's parents was destroyed in the storm. Winds blew the photograph more than 70 miles northeast to Whitehouse, where Linda Cromly saw the picture fall into her backyard one week ago.

Ms. Cromly worried that a family suffering from storm damage might be missing the photo.

She gave the photo to The Blade, which ran the picture yesterday in hopes of finding its owner.

Kimberly Stepleton, a Toledo lawyer, saw the newspaper and recognized the woman in the picture as her friend from high school. So she contacted Ms. Brincefield and The Blade.

“We have searched the woods and fields trying to find stuff, and it turns out it's in Toledo,” Ms. Brincefield said. “It's just unbelievable.”

Her parents lost most of their possessions in the storm, but they escaped harm. They were at Ms. Brincefield's home in Middle Point when a tornado hit their home.

“I'm just glad it had a happy ending,” Ms. Cromly said.

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