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You see junk, but Jerry Ritter sees a challenge

Stored under In the News on November 10, 2006 at 8:47 AM
When most of us want to relax we might read a book, see a movie or maybe even take a nap, but not Jerry Ritter. He grabs a chain saw.

"This one's driving me crazy. I've been working on it for two weeks now." Sounds odd that something that drives him crazy makes him relax but it does. Jerry goes to garage sales every Saturday morning looking for things that don't work. Then with a little elbow grease and mind bending he makes them new again. Kind of reminds me of the Island of Misfit Toys in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special. He gives new life to things many of us would give up on and throw away.

"I find all kinds of things to work on. Stuff like that fascinates me. And it keeps my mind going . . . it keeps me sharp."

Jerry, 72, searches for broken appliances such as microwaves and lawn equipment, clocks, watches and anything else that looks hopeless. I met Jerry recently at a garage sale in Mesa. It was a good sale where I snatched up two nice-size plants for $4, but I did pass on a box of junk for sale. Jerry didn't. He grabbed the box of miscellaneous items for $3. I was intrigued. I had to find out why someone would want a box of "stuff " - something most of us would've put in the trash instead of the garage sale. Turns out he saw materials he could use to fix his collection of items on his operating table in his garage.

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