A couple who lost their three sons in a tragic Christmas fire has received a special gift thanks to students hundreds of miles away.
The students at the University of Delaware were able to restore hundreds of photos of the family of Ricky and Traci Harris after the images were damaged in the blaze that killed Kenyon, 14, Broderick, 11, and Braylon, 9.
The boys and their grandmother, Terry Harris, died on Dec. 26 after her home caught fire, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
The boys had asked to stay the night because they didn't want their grandmother to be alone on Christmas.
News of the tragedy soon traveled to Michael Emmons, a family friend who is studying preservation studies at the University of Delaware.
Emmons heard that friends of the family had removed family photos from Terry Harris' home, and were trying to save them because they were damaged and wet, the school said in a blog post.
Emmons emailed Debra Hess Norris, the chairwoman of the school's art conservation department, and asked if her students may be able to restore some of the photos.
Norris responded within hours, and soon the team got to work.
"It was a labor of deep commitment and an opportunity for us to reach out and help the Harris family in some small way," Norris told BuzzFeed News.
Norris said the project has been "transformational" for both her and her students.
"We feel connected to the Harris family in very significant ways as we have worked to preserve their beautiful family photographs…” she said.
Ricky Harris said he was shocked and grateful that the team would take the time to save his family memories.
"I know there is nothing that can replace holding your family member and seeing them again,” Emmons told Fox 28. “To be able to at least have photographs and to be able to see the photographs and remember through pictures I think is pretty powerful.”
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Stephanie McNeal at email@example.com.
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