A 50th anniversary is widely recognized as the golden year. No one knows this better than Sacramento, Calif.-based residential HVACR contractor, Clarke & Rush Mechanical.

While examining ductwork on a typical residential HVAC installation this fall, a company technician stumbled upon hidden treasure — over a dozen baby food jars filled to the brim with approximately $300,000 worth of gold dust.

A Golden Opportunity

Clarke & Rush technician Steve Ottley was performing his job like any other day, when, upon lifting a floor grille, he discovered jars upon jars of shiny, metallic dust.

“I looked at it and said, ‘I think that’s gold,’” he said. “It was unreal. We all just kind of looked at each other and said, ‘wow.’”

Ottley immediately alerted the homeowners of their discovery, and while the residents were unaware of the treasure’s existence, they gleefully accepted the newfound fortune.

“The home was built in the 1950s,” said Mark Thyne, customer relations, Clarke & Rush. “So, it is our belief that the gold must date back to somewhere around then. Unbelievably, the origin of the gold remains a mystery to this day.”

With close to 90 technicians, amassing between $12 million and $20 million in sales, the company has endured its fair share of surprising finds.

“We’ve found rifles and handguns up in attics, and valuable certificates,” said Thyne. “Occasionally we stumble upon a small lockbox; for some reason people love to store their valuables in their duct system and attics.”

And, amazingly, this isn’t the company’s first golden find. In the mid-1980s, a group of Clarke & Rush employees unearthed over $25,000 in gold coins on a job site, which were promptly returned to the homeowner.

“Every time we encounter something like this, we are always trustworthy and upfront,” said Thyne. “This is further evidence of the integrity and professionalism of Clarke & Rush.”

The golden discovery coincides with the company’s golden anniversary. Founded in 1963 by Rod Rush, a mechanical engineer from Cal Poly, Clarke & Rush remains a family-owned-and-operated business.

“The golden rule is still alive and well here,” said Pat Rush, owner. “Besides knowing your business, the honesty and integrity factor is paramount when you work in peoples’ homes. The core values our company was founded on are a big reason we’re still in business today.”

Rush said the company has always been about saving money, and this latest event truly drives that point home. “You have to ask yourself, what would you do in that situation, with a fortune of gold in your hands that nobody knew about?” said Rush. “It makes me extremely proud of our employees, knowing that we’ve hired the right people.”

Publication date: 1/28/2013