$12K in dollar bills removed from pub's walls donated to charity

Fire marshal orders Lynch's Irish Pub to take down bills due to fire hazard

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – After the Jacksonville Beach fire marshal ordered Lynch's Irish Pub to take down the dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceilings because they were a fire hazard, employees collected the money, which totaled more than $12,000, and donated it to charity. 

The tradition that began in 1994 came to an end at 8 a.m. Tuesday as many firefighters, who consider Lynch's their local watering hole, helped employees with the massive amount of work required to remove the bills. 

"Unfortunately, the Jacksonville Beach fire marshal has declared the dollar bills a fire hazard," explained Jason Kerr, a retired fireman. "You go through thousands and thousands of dollar bills and it's like people's history." 

Each of the thousands of George Washingtons tells a unique story. But collectively, the bills represent the history of the Jacksonville Beach establishment. 

"We have people that have gone away on deployment and not returned. I've had dollar bills put up. There's husbands that have left messages for wives, and wives for husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends. There's been a lot of proposals on our bills. It's quite a historical number," said Keith Doherty, the general manager of Lynch's Irish Pub. "This is part of Lynch's history. I mean, it started back when we opened."

Doherty described the process of removing the collection as bittersweet.

"At times, it's become a little overwhelming, to have them all over the walls and all over. You could hardly see an open space without a dollar," Doherty said. "I'm devastated. I really am. I still am. We were ordered to take them down so what can you do?"

And while the 22-year-old tradition will no longer continue, Doherty said, the memories will live on. 

"I'll keep a digital memory of each dollar and I'll probably have a TV screen with the bills on it," Doherty said.

At the end of the day, all of the money -- $12,741 -- was donated to Jacksonville firefighter charities.