A carpenter from Iowa changed dozens of people’s lives recently when upon his passing, he donated his life savings to help pay for 33 students’ college tuition. It is a beautiful story that caught all of his friends and others in the community by complete surprise. Mainly because of the man’s background. Dale Schroeder was not a complicated man.
He came from a poor family, he never went to college, he never married, and he worked at the same job for 67 years.
His trade was carpentry, and while it kept him busy, all in all, it was a simple life.
He owned a pair of work jeans, a pair of church jeans, and a rusted old Chevy truck.
That’s about it. However, unbeknownst to everyone, sitting in his bank account was a small fortune. Through a lifetime of frugal living, Schroeder had managed to save up over three million dollars!
“He was that kind of a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of a guy, went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans,” friend of the deceased, Steve Nielsen, told KCCI.
In many families, a situation like his might spur a desperate cash grab attempt from all the relatives.
When they find out how much you have, everyone always wants a piece of the pie. However, in Schroeder’s case, he had zero descendants, and no siblings or relatives around to fight over the money.
Instead of letting the cash end up in the state’s coffer though, Schroeder had other plans.
He put all the money into a scholarship fund, hoping that his hard-earned savings would help to give other kids growing up the opportunity he never had — a chance to go to college. Since the man’s passing in 2005, his money has helped over 33 people attend university who otherwise never would have been able to.
One of those students who benefited from the scholarship is Kira Conard.
Growing up she always wanted to become a therapist. However, she belonged to a single-parent household and also had three older sisters to compete with. While she definitely had the grades for the career, her family just didn’t have the money. She broke the unfortunate news to her friends at her graduation party.
“I want to do this, I have this goal, but I can’t get there, just because of the financial part,” explained Conard.
Then, she got a phone call that changed everything. The person on the other end of the line told her he was calling on behalf of Dale Schroeder.
“I broke down into tears immediately,” Conard recalled.
“For a man that would never meet me, to give me, basically, a full ride to college… that is incredible. That doesn’t happen.”
The grateful students are now calling themselves “Dale’s kids”.
They all united recently to pay tribute to Schroeder, gathering around his old lunch box and telling their own stories of how the humble carpenter changed their lives. Although they never met the man before his passing, they are all so thankful for his generous gift.
The only thing Schroeder asked of the students is that they pay it forward to someone else down the line. Not necessarily financially, but more so in spirit. It is a message about opening your heart up to strangers and spreading kindness, generosity, and love.
While Dale Schroeder isn’t around to see his “kids'” success, through their hard work, his memory lives on.
Watch the full video of the news story about Dale Schroeder and his “kids” below.
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