Holding on to what’s important

Published 8:59 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

For me, the onset of winter usually means a growing inclination to clean everything, if only to warm myself up by doing something. And so this past weekend I planned a massive cleaning marathon.

Despite the fact that it has been several months since I moved into my new house, I still have boxes of things sitting around. One such box ended up on my cleaning list and inside it I discovered a depository of old photos.

I decided to cut my cleaning marathon off and instead explore my box of memories.

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There were pictures of a much, much younger me, splashing in the waves at the beach. There was a picture of me with my first childhood dog, who died this past October. There were pictures of my sister and I exploring a zoo with my dad. There was even a picture of me holding my niece right after she was born. By the end of the exploration, I was warm with memories that I hadn’t thought about in years and that might have faded away were it not for those visual reminders.

So it was with sympathy that I learned the details of a recent burglary in Suffolk. Amelia Chung returned to her home Tuesday night to discover that it had been burglarized. A few things were missing, including her wedding ring and her laptops. Such an invasion was bad enough, but it was even worse for Chung, whose most cherished possessions weren’t the computers themselves, but what were contained on them.

In April 2008, Chung’s home was destroyed by the tornado that ripped through Suffolk. Thankfully her family survived the destruction and her husband was able to rescue a few pictures of their children. Those photos were the precious items stored on the now-stolen laptops.

I trust that the Suffolk Police Department is doing everything it can to solve this and every other case that it comes across. But they can only do so much.

We often forget that we can play a role in helping each other, even for those who are victims of crime. In 2008, when the tornado hit, Suffolkians banded together to help each other recover. In this case, Suffolkians can help a victim recover what even a tornado couldn’t manage to tear away.

Chung says that she doesn’t care if her property is returned, but she hopes that the burglar or burglars will do the right thing and return the stolen photos to her. If you have any leads on the whereabouts of the suspects or the photos, please call the Suffolk Police Department at 923-2350. The photos can be returned on a jump drive or CDs to the YMCA at 2769 Godwin Blvd. or to the Suffolk News-Herald office at 130 S. Saratoga St.

They may seem like nothing more than a few snapshots, but to the Chungs they represent precious memories that could be lost forever.