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Carpenter Comps College Costs for 33 Iowans

Carpenter Comps College Costs for 33 Iowans
Susan Dutca-Lovell

An Iowa Carpenter sent 33 Iowan students he'd never met to college with the $3 million he had in savings. Prior to his death in 2005, Dale Schroeder told his attorney that he wanted to use the money in his will help send underprivileged students to college. Schroeder's scholarship recipients, also known as "Dale's Kids," recently met up to reflect on his generosity and "the fact that many of them would have been unable to attend college without Schroeder's help."

Having grown up poor Dale Schroeder lived a modest life. He never married or had kids and worked as a carpenter for the same company for 67 years. Despite owning only two pair of jeans and driving a rusty old Chevrolet truck, Schroeder he wanted to help kids that were like him by sending them to college with his savings. Recipients such as Kira Conrad, who came from a single-parent household with three older siblings doted on his unprecedented generosity and vividly recalls getting the call from Schroeder's attorney telling her that her $80,000 college tuition bill would be covered by Schroeder's scholarship. "For a man that would never meet me, to give me basically a full ride to college, that's incredible," said Conrad.

Though the account has finally run dry, the recipients will "remember that shy carpenter for the rest of their lives." The one small catch: "All we ask is that you pay it forward," his attorney says. "You can't pay it back, because Dale's gone. But you can remember him and you can emulate him."

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