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After Julie’s home was destroyed by a fire, her cousin Michele submitted a wish to reframe her family photos.

Every Picture Tells a Story

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Moments after a fire destroyed Julie Bennion’s home, firefighters asked her if there was anything she want them to try to salvage. In that split second, Julie couldn’t think of anything. Julie’s family and pets had all safely escaped the fire. She had everything she needed, they were all safe. As she stood there stunned, her collection of photographs popped into her head. Many years’ worth of photos capturing family memories, freezing cherished moments in time, potentially all destroyed.

Julie is a professional photographer and had beautiful family photos hung throughout her house. She kept all her photos together in a cabinet and thankfully many survived the fire. However, some precious images were still lost, such as her daughter’s championship golf photo.

“Photos mean the world to me,” Julie said. Julie had a photography business for 15 years, capturing and documenting the memories for other families and her own.

“Her family and those pictures mean everything to her,” Michele said. “They were extremely lucky to have all gotten out of the home. Personal belongings can be replaced, but not people. A lesson that our family learned is to never take things for granted.”

The loss of your home is an immense emotional upheaval. Michele Radeck, Mortgage Loans Operations Specialist at the Moorhead Choice Bank and Julie’s cousin, wanted to do something to help. She submitted a wish to our Wishing Well program to cover the cost of restoring and reframing Julie’s rescued photographs.

“Her family and those pictures mean everything to her,” Michele said. “They were extremely lucky to have all gotten out of the home. Personal belongings can be replaced, but not people. A lesson that our family learned is to never take things for granted.”

Michele took the framed photos that were salvaged from the fire and had them professionally restored and reframed. These photos were of her and her husband, son, and daughter growing up throughout the years, including a headshot of their prized dog, Cooper, who had once saved Julie’s husband from carbon monoxide poisoning by barking until he got out of the house.

Julie & Michele

When it came time for the reveal, the newly framed photos were displayed in the lobby of the Moorhead Choice Bank location. Michele, who was going out for lunch with Julie, asked if they could stop by the bank on the way where she was presented with the newly framed photographs.

Julie and her family are building a new home, and what could be salvaged from the fire is currently being cleaned and restored. Although the home that housed so many cherished memories is gone, these framed photos will be able to adorn the walls of their new home and preserve memories well into the future.

Julie has remained resilient throughout this trying time and grateful for her family’s safety, reminding us all to cherish our families and the memories we share together.


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The Choice Bank Wishing Well is now accepting wishes for 2021! Ready to cast yours? Visit choicewishingwell.com and let us know who you would like to help out in your community.

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