There are some truly selfless people in this world, and it’s a blessing to get to know their stories today. Dale Schroeder was one of the most selfless people in America – though many people were sadly unaware of his kind, selfless heart when he passed away in 2005.No close family members mourned Dale after his death.
But 33 strangers did show up to his rememberence, and all of them claimed to be his children.Dale, a carpenter who lived in Iowa, was an incredibly hard-working man throughout his entire life. He devoted his working time to his profession, and his private time for his religion. Steve Nielsen, his friend and attorney, said the following about him.
“[He] went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans…. He had church jeans and work jeans.”
Steve painted a picture of Dale’s simple life, explaining that he worked for the same company in Des Moines for 67 years. Naturally, Dale had accumulated some savings from his job, and one day, he presented Steve with an idea he’d been brewing: he wanted to put some of his money towards helping people go to college.
Though tuition funding and scholarships are more widely available today, college is still incredibly expensive for most. It can cost upwards of $30,000 for tuition fees alone.
Steve expected Dale to have a small percentage of his past earnings that he was willing to part with – but it was much more than that. In fact, Dale had over $3 million in funds that he wanted to give away.
Though Steve was momentarily astonished by Dale’s fortune, he was more than happy to help his friend help other people. Dale’s savings were used to fund the education of 33 young Iowans – many who became important figures in the education and medical industries.
Dale’s funding was designed to help people who couldn’t afford college, though they had achieved the right grades and had the desire to further their education. He was supporting young adults who otherwise would have had no choice but to abandon their dreams.
One of these people was Kira Conrad. Her family couldn’t afford to send her to college, and she knew that even a loan would be too tough to repay.
Kira thought that college simply couldn’t be a part of her life – until Steve gave her a call on Dale’s behalf. She burst into tears at the news, and said in a later interview:
“For a man that would never meet me…to give me, basically, a full ride to college…. That’s incredible. That doesn’t happen.”
Dale’s savings ran out in 2019, 14 years after his death. In that time, his funding had touched the hearts of so many young people, and all of them wanted to pay their respects to the stranger who had given them so much.
Steve said that Dale had virtually no conditions with who his money went to. He didn’t have a preference for course or person.
He did say one thing, though:
“All he asked was that you pay it forward. You can’t pay it back ’cause Dale’s gone. But you can remember him, and you can emulate him.”
Dale’s generosity inspired so many people. His “children” will be forever grateful for his support, and his legacy is one that deserves to be spread far and wide.
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