Dale Schroeder grew up poor and lived a simple life. He never married or had any kids. He drove an old, rusted out Chevy truck, working as a carpenter for the same company in Iowa for 67 years.
He owned two pairs of jeans and probably not that many more shirts. He saved most all of the money he had earned over the years, and just before he died in 2005, he met with his attorney, Steve Nielson. He told Steve that when he died, he wanted all of his money to go to help students in Iowa get a college education. Steve was more than happy to help Dale with that. Then he asked Dale about how much money would that be. Dale told him it was just shy of $3 million.
Says Steve: “I nearly fell out of my chair.”
Dale wanted to help those who, without his money, probably would not be able to afford a higher education. Since his death, Dale’s money has put 33 students through college.
In early July, many of those students gathered around an old lunch box Dale used to take to work with him, and they talked about a man they never knew, but helped them so much. One was a young woman named Kira Conrad.
Says Kira: “I grew up in a single parent household and I had three older sisters, so paying for all four of us was never an option. It almost made me feel powerless, like, ‘I want to do this, I have this goal but I can’t get there just because of the financial part.'”
When Kira received a call from Steve telling her that she had been chosen to have her $80,000 tuition bill paid by Dale’s scholarship, she broke down and cried.
Because of Dale’s kindness to others he never met, Kira is now a therapist. Some of the others have become doctors and educators.