Stranger finds, returns precious family photos washed away in flooding

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LONGMONT, Colo. -- The floodwaters in Longmont are mostly gone, but looking at home after home it’s impossible to ignore the destruction. People’s lives are stacked up in their driveways, their precious memories lost.

“You don’t think about it until afterwards when you see them taking stuff out of the basement and it’s full of mud and wet.”

Irene Kantrowitz kept her most treasured family heirlooms in her basement, which was severely flooded. There were years worth of memories, some of the most special were of her late father who died when she was just 19.

“He liked to play cards with us, and play battleship, and he loved to garden,” she said.

Kantrowitz hadn’t looked at this album in years. She had no idea the floodwaters had swept it away until a stranger showed up.

“When I opened it to the first page there was a sign from a church that announced whose funeral it was.”

Megan Goodman-Arndt’s parents live several houses away from Kantrowitz. All she had to go on was the name of a man who died when she herself was only about six months old.

“I went to and typed in the last name and Longmont and a person on this same street came up,” she said.

It sounds like no big feat until you think about the fact that that name, “Lewandowski,” is Irene’s maiden name. She just so happened to list her phone number so many years ago with that name – not Kantrowitz.

“It was hard listening to her talk about it. I was really glad I found her,” said Goodman-Arndt.

Years worth of memories are now back in Irene’s hands. It’s a small sliver of hope in an otherwise very devastating time.

“There must be a reason that it’s here maybe my father’s trying to say something to my brothers and I that he’s with us during this difficult time,” she said.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.