Many families are working to rebuild after the Sevier County wildfires destroyed hundreds of homes in November -- but some heirlooms insurance can't replace.
On Saturday, volunteers with Project Heirloom offered free 8x10 portraits to about two dozen displaced families at the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg. Most of the equipment, from the cameras to the pictures frames, were supplied by volunteers or donated.
For victims like Bob Ward, who lost his Chalet Village house of 30 years to the wildfires, it was an opportunity to replenish lost family treasures.
"You've got virtually everything from your parents’ baby pictures, to everything that's happened for your entire lifetime. It's a big loss. Insurance doesn't pay for that,” he said.
Ward visited Arrowmont with his daughter Saturday afternoon, who also narrowly escaped the flames on November 28. While searching for a new home, he had been living with her in the interim.
"I just purchased a condo, and I'm moving in,” Ward said, ”but I have no pictures to hang on the wall. I didn’t have any kind of personal photograph of myself or any member of the family. This is the first thing I can set on the mantle, or hang on the wall, and it's starting the new photo album."
"We just want to make people feel loved and well taken care of," said project coordinator Julia Huskey.
Project Heirloom will also see families on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Any families who have lost items to the fire can visit www.projectheirloomtn.com to schedule a free portrait session.