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Community helps replace 13-year-old's fossil collection destroyed in Bridger Foothills Fire

Posted at 8:16 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 22:16:45-04

Almost three weeks ago, the Bridger Foothills Fire destroyed a family’s home, filled with memories, comfort, and security — everything, including a 13-year-old boy’s most prized possession, his fossil collection.

“I really did not think about my fossil collection until later the next day when we knew it was safe and we went to see our house. You know, just looking there and thinking where everything was and I remembered my fossil collection which made me really upset,” said Adam Mendelsohn.

Before Sept. 4, the Mendelsohn family had been living in their home in Bridger Canyon after it was built just two and a half years ago.

“I loved the house. It was always awesome. I loved the cabin just being made out of logs and everything, but it’s more of like what I’ve done there, had our friends over, parties, family, and what we’ve done to the house,” Adam said.

But the wildfire consumed the home and everything in it.

“Oh, I was in complete tears. I was sad. I was terrified, just everything,” he said.

But that’s not the end to Adam’s story or his fossil collection.

“First this guy named Charles Post, he reached out to me on Instagram and he actually gave me a megalodon tooth and a seabed, which is really cool," Adam said. "And then MSU reached out to my mom and they put together this whole kit and everyone donated things. It was like a fossil drive,” he said.

A priceless gift for someone who loves the historic pieces.

“I just love thinking how old something can be and knowing that they used to walk on this planet that we walk on now,” Adam said.

The young fossil collector is originally from Florida and was in disbelief by the effort from his new Montana community.

“Just knowing how great everyone here is in Montana, it just makes me really happy. The community’s great and it just makes this place better than it already is,” he explained.

Despite what the Mendelsohn family has been through, they say they refuse to feel sorry for themselves and look forward to moving on and rebuilding their lives.