This story first appeared on 7/21/2019
A man from Iowa sent 33 strangers to college after amassing $3 million worth of savings in the bank.
Dale Schroeder is a humble carpenter who worked at the same company for 67 years. According to a good friend, he didn’t have much. In fact, he only owned 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 following his death in 2005.
Little did the people around him know that he had amassed $3 million in savings, and he saved all this money for one special purpose.
According to KCCI, Dale grew up in a poor family and was never able to attend college. He also never married and had no children. Shortly before he passed away in 2005, Dale approached his friend and lawyer, Steve Nielsen, to talk about what would become of his life savings.
“He wanted to help kids that were like him that probably wouldn’t have an opportunity to go to college but for his gift,” Steve said. “I said, ‘How much are we talking about, Dale?’ And he said, ‘Oh, just shy of $3 million.’ I nearly fell out of my chair.”
Dale’s scholarship fund helped future teachers, doctors, and therapists fulfill their dreams of going to college.
After 14 years, the fund has finally run out. The 33 beneficiaries, who call themselves “Dale’s Kids”, are intent on paying it forward, which is exactly what Dale would have wanted them to do.
“All we ask is that you pay it forward,” Steve said. “You can’t pay it back, because Dale’s gone. But you can remember him and you can emulate him.”
Recently, Dale’s Kids gathered around the man’s old lunchbox to talk about how their lives were changed, even when they never got the chance to meet him in the flesh. One of these people was Kira Conrad.
“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.'” she said.
Kira aspired to become a therapist, but with the financial constraints, she knew that it would be impossible. At her high school graduation party, she planned on telling her friends and family that she wouldn’t be able to afford college. But before that happened, she received a call that would change her life forever.
Steve called her to inform her that $80,000 tuition would be covered through Dale’s scholarship fund.
“I broke down into tears immediately,” Kira said. “For a man that would never meet me, to give me basically a full ride to college, that’s incredible. That doesn’t happen.”
Watch the video below to learn more about this incredible story.
What Dale was able to do for these people is beyond what anyone could have imagined. His incredible legacy will certainly live on forever and hopefully, his “kids” will go through with their vow of paying it forward, just like what he would have wanted.