Art instructor Jeanna Bassett from Concordia Elementary School in San Clemente, Orange County might fit the bill for cool teacher. She had amassed three decades’ worth of LEGO Star Wars sets, many of which were assembled by her sons. In a generous gesture she had donated some sets to her school’s library as exhibits over the years, becoming its own little attraction there.
Then on November last year she experienced a LEGO collector’s worst nightmare: vandalism of the sets on display. The destruction was so significant that Basset lost all hope of seeing her collection put together again. Thank goodness for her local building community, not to mention LEGO itself.
As told by the Orange County Register, over two months since Jeanna Bassett’s LEGO Star Wars set exhibit in the Concordia School in San Clemente was wrecked by still-unidentified suspects, some 90% of the total collection that had been on display has since been either repaired or given newly-built replacements.
With 125 individual LEGO Star Wars sets that were damaged in last year’s vandalism attack on Concordia, repair and replacement of them would have been too daunting. But the local community readily answered the call. Orange County’s Goodwill actually sprung for the fixit job on one of Bassett’s biggest ruined LEGO Star Wars sets, the UCS Millennium Falcon (75192) itself, which they then presented to her at school last December.
Other salvage work on the collection was performed by various LEGO Users Groups from Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties, totaling 40 individual builders that joined hands to restore Bassett’s precious Star Wars sets.
Paul Lee of the LA LEGO User Group put it best for his fellows when he remarked, “To paraphrase Liam Neeson, as AFOLS we ‘do have a very particular set of skills’ that were perfectly suited for solving this problem. We have the building experience and expertise, and we have the resources in terms of replacing damaged or missing pieces.”
The LEGO Group itself also donated more Star Wars sets for assembly worth $2,000. Lastly, “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson presented Jeanna Bassett with a signed “Star Wars” poster to go with her mostly-restored library exhibit, as he himself lives in San Clemente and has nephews attending in Concordia.
While she and her husband Donald were reinstalling her LEGO collection in the library Sunday, February 10, Bassett said of her fortune, “It’s really the story of how the community came together. It’s sad it had to happen in the first place but it shows you people really do care.”