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Jerry Getzfrid has volunteered at the Habitat HomeStore for years.

But he’s never seen anything like this.

Getzfrid repairs appliances at the Fremont thrift store. On Saturday, he removed the front of a donated dryer and found money.

Quite a bit of money — $144.

“I could not believe it,” he said. “So I called the boss.”

Joy McKay was surprised, too. So McKay, executive director of Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity, took a photo and posted it on Facebook.

“Apparently, it went viral,” McKay said.

As of Wednesday, the post has reached more than 11 million people. It’s attracted 22,000 comments and has been shared more than 100,000 times.

In the meantime, the person, who donated the dryer, was contacted and the money returned.

McKay said the individual picked up the cash on Wednesday morning and was thankful for the money — which was very much needed.

Since 2012, the HomeStore has sold a variety of new and gently used donated merchandise such as appliances, building supplies and household items.

Items are sold at discount prices with proceeds used to build affordable homes.

The HomeStore is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays for shopping and donation drop-offs at 701 E. Dodge St.

All donated appliances are checked out. If they’re not working properly, a volunteer tries to repair them.

When the dryer didn’t work, Getzfrid began taking it apart to see if he could find out what was wrong with it.

“I took off the front and there was all this money laying in the bottom compartment of the dryer, under the drum,” he said. “Somehow, this money got out of the airflow system and got down there.”

Getzfrid can only guess how all the money — paper currency and change ended up in the bottom of the dryer.

The squirrel cage fan is broken. Maybe that had something to do with it, but he’s not sure.

“I don’t know how the money got in there,” he said. “It shouldn’t have. It’s something very unusual.”

Getzfrid’s find attracted his fellow workers.

“We were dumbfounded,” he said. “There were all these bills in there and lots of change. I started dragging money out of the dryer and people started counting it.”

They were still counting when he went to tell McKay.

This isn’t the first time money has been found in a dryer.

“One time, (volunteer) Clint Mitchell and I found $12 worth of change in a dryer — but just change,” he said.

Getzfrid discourages people from trying to save money by turning their dryers into piggy banks.

And he advises people not to disassemble their dryers.

“I wouldn’t recommend trying to take your dryer apart to find money either, because it almost never happens,” he said.

Since his unique find, Getzfrid has determined what was wrong with the dryer and ordered a part to repair it.

He encourages others to donate appliances — stoves, refrigerators, washers and dryers — whether they work or not. All such items truly are needed, especially after mid-March flooding.

“Since the flood, we can’t keep enough appliances in here,” Getzfrid said. “People need appliances.

“People got flooded out,” he added. “They lost all their appliances and a lot of people don’t have the money to go spend $800 to $1,000 on a washer or dryer or refrigerator. We sell things at a really reasonable price here.”

Looking back, Getzfrid noted that his favorite aspect of the situation hasn’t been finding the money — but returning it.

“That’s the best part,” he said.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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