Canada

Barrie, Ont. tornado survivor’s cherished photo blown onto porch 5.5 kms away

BARRIE, ONT. —
When a ruthless tornado blew through a south-end Barrie, Ont., community on Thursday, it ripped apart homes and tossed personal belongings like trash, including a photograph that one survivor had kept as a keepsake.

The photograph belonged to Stephen Galyen, a construction worker who was inside a trailer at a construction site as it was thrown into the air and torn apart.

“There’s things moving everywhere, nothing’s attached, so you’re just hoping it all ends,” he described.

Galyen and two of his coworkers who were in the trailer with him survived, but the photograph that was taped to the trailer’s wall was lost.

The picture, Galyen said, was a souvenir of better times. “Back to the times when everyone was happy. Everyone’s having good times, and after all the things we’ve been through, it’s just something nice to look back at.”

The photo had travelled five and a half kilometres to land on Alexis Spiering’s back porch in Innisfil.

“I brought it in, and initially, my dad was like, ‘That’s me,’ and I was like, ‘No, that’s not you. That looks nothing like you.’ So we had no idea where this photo came from,” she said.

A few days after the discovery, Speiring reached out to CTV News Barrie to help reunite the photo with its rightful owner in hopes someone somewhere would point her in the right direction.

“Maybe that photo had meaning,” she added.

Galyen said he saw his photo on CTV News and met with Speiring at the construction site to have it returned.

“This is great,” he said as she handed it over. “Thank you so much.”

The EF-2 tornado caused a trail of destruction in the Prince William Way area five kilometres long and up to 100 metres wide.

Seventy-one homes were deemed uninhabitable and more than 100 residents were displaced.


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