These days, finding a teenager with an addiction to anything other than his smartphone is a feat in and of itself. Thirteen-year-old Judah Tyreman of Saskatchewan, Canada is one such rare gem. He describes himself as a kid with a geology addiction, just an ordinary kid who loves to collect rocks and fossils and share his knowledge of them with others.
Thanks to this "addiction," Judah and his little sister Avi opened the Sesula Mineral and Gem Museum in the small town of Radisson two years ago. The teen mowed lawns and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to get his museum off the ground, and he sells specialized jewelry and other items in the shop to keep it going. He's proud of the fact that he's never used any of his parent's money to make his dream a reality.
So imagine how crestfallen Judah must have been to arrive at his museum on a recent Sunday morning to find some of the pieces from his collection strewn on the ground outside and the door to the shop pried open. Thieves had stolen museum pieces valued at between $6,000 to $8,000, including a piece of rare ocean jasper worth about $3,000. And in a Grinch-like move, they even took the museum's donation jar.
This might have been the end of the road for anyone else. After all, that's a lot of hard work to see stripped away by an anonymous thief. But Judah told local reporters that while the robbery certainly dampened his spirits initially, he quickly realized that he needed to get back to work, rebuilding his shop and replacing his missing pieces.
And thanks to some Internet fairy-dust magic, Judah is receiving support from well-wishers all over the world. Amateur geologists from as far away as China have contacted Judah to send replacement pieces or even to simply offer messages of condolences. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum has offered to donate a variety of its duplicates. And Judah has raised more than $9,000 on his GoFundMe page with more donations pouring in every day."If I could get the ones that were stolen back, that would be great. If I honestly can't, then I'll just have to get some new ones," said Judah. "We're just going to put it back together and make it great again."