Thirty-three people in Iowa got a chance to go to college thanks to the generosity of a small-town carpenter. Dale Schroeder never went to college himself and managed to make a decent living as a carpenter. He was able to save up $3 million, and since he never married, there was nobody to leave his inheritance to when he died in 2005.
“He was that kind of a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of a guy,” Schroeder’s friend Steve Nielsen said. “Went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans.”
Schroeder decided that his small fortune should be used to pay for the college tuition for local teens who could not afford to pay for a higher education.
“He wanted to help kids that were like him that probably wouldn’t have an opportunity to go to college but for his gift,” Nielsen said.
While there were no strings attached to the money, Nielsen explained that the young adults could honor Schroeder’s legacy by working hard and being good people.
“All we ask is that you pay it forward,” Nielsen said. “You can’t pay it back, because Dale’s gone. But you can remember him, and you can emulate him.”
Fourteen years after Schroeder passed away, the 33 kids he helped get a college education met up to remember the man they never met. The group calls themselves Dale’s Kids and they are grateful for the opportunity that Schroeder gave them.
Schroeder would have been proud to see the group of doctors, therapists, teachers, and other professionals working hard to make a positive difference in the lives of others.