An Iowa man sent 33 strangers to college on scholarships after racking up $3 million in savings in the bank.
Dale Schroeder is a humble carpenter who worked for the same company for 67 years. According to a good friend, he didn’t have much.
In fact, he only had two pairs of jeans, one for church and one for work, and a rusty Chevrolet truck, but amazingly, the frugal worker was able to send 33 students to college after his death in 2005.
Little did the people around him know that he had accumulated $3 million in savings, and he saved all this money for a special purpose.
According to KCCI, Dale grew up in a poor family and was never able to attend college. He was also unmarried and had no children.
Shortly before he passed away in 2005, Dale approached his friend and attorney, Steve Nielsen, to discuss what would become of his life savings.
“He wanted to help kids who were like him and probably wouldn’t have a chance to go to college if it wasn’t for his gift,” Steve said.
Dale funding scholarships helped future teachers, doctors, and therapists fulfill their dreams of going to college.
After 14 years, the fund finally ran out. The 33 recipients, calling themselves “Dale’s Kids,” intend to return the favor, which is exactly what Dale would have wanted them to do.
“All we ask is that you pay up front,” Steve said. “You can’t return it, because Dale is gone. But you can remember it and you can emulate it.”
Recently, Dale children who benefited from the scholarships gathered around the man’s old lunchbox to talk about how their lives had changed, even though they never had the chance to meet him in person. One of these people was Kira Conrad.
“I grew up in a single parent household and had three older sisters, so paying for all four was never an option. [That] almost made me feel helpless, like, ‘I want to do this, I have this goal, but I can’t get there just because of the financial part,'” she said.
Kira aspired to become a therapist, but with financial constraints, she knew it would be impossible.
At her high school prom, she planned to tell her friends and family that she couldn’t afford college. But before that happened, she received a call that would change her life forever.
Steve called to inform her that the $80,000 tuition would be covered through Dale’s scholarship fund.
“I immediately burst into tears,” Kira said. “For a man who would never know me, basically giving me a full trip to college, that’s amazing. That doesn’t happen.
What Dale was able to do for these people is beyond anything anyone could have imagined. His incredible legacy will certainly live on forever and hopefully his “children” will follow through on their promise to bring him back, just as he would have wanted.