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Michigan veterans' records damaged by mold

FLINT, Mich. — Specialists in Livonia will try to restore thousands of pages of Genesee County veterans' military papers that sustained water, mildew and mold damage.

Some of the records date at least as far back as World War II. Most are discharge papers damaged by moisture at an offsite storage facility, where they had been stored until recent years, Genesee County Clerk John Gleason told The Flint Journal.

The county isn't sure whether any records have been damaged beyond repair.

"We're hoping that hasn't happened," Gleason told the newspaper.

The county discovered the damage in 2011. The county removed the records from the storage facility a few months later and put them in the courthouse attic.

Gleason said the storage company's insurer has agreed to pay the $30,000 it will cost to restore the records.

The county keeps the records at the request of veterans if they choose, Gleason said. It especially is important for elderly veterans who need access to the documents when they become eligible for certain benefits.

Restoration will be done by Livonia-based DFD Document Restoration Services, which specializes in restoring damaged documents.

One restoration method involves freeze-drying to stop the mold growth, which then allows the mold and other damage to be removed, DFD's Bill Gulley said.

He said damage did not look too severe, which may mean the business will be able to restore them through gamma irradiation.

"It depends on how much the mold has permeated the paper," Gulley said.

Information from: The Flint Journal

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