- Raised by a single parent, Kira Conard couldn’t afford to go to college after completing high school
- She had no chance of furthering her education because her single parent couldn’t afford to pay for all four siblings
- Fortunately, a stranger called to inform her that a carpenter would be funding fees for her college
- The carpenter, Dale Schroeder, who had amassed in 67 years almost $3 million in savings, set up a scholarship fund to help needy people before he passed away
Four years ago at a high school graduation party, one of the happiest days of Kira Conard's life carried a cloud of sadness while her friends were buzzing with excitement about their next steps.
Many were going to college, but the aspiring therapist in Des Moines, Iowa, scarcely had the heart to tell them she couldn't go. Her family just couldn't afford it.
Raised by a single parent with three older sisters, "paying for all four of us was never an option," she said in an interview. But then she got a call from a stranger offering a scholarship.
"I broke down into tears immediately," she said.
The man on the other end of the line told her that her dreams would be funded by an angel named Dale Schroeder.
A lifetime of honest work now benefits others
Born in 1919, Schroeder worked as a carpenter for 67 years at the same business in Des Moines. When he died in 2005, he had amassed almost $3 million in savings.
Schroeder had owned two pairs of jeans, one for work and one for church, his friend Steve Nielsen, a lawyer, told KCCI. He never married and had no living descendents.
Before his death, Schroeder walked into Nielsen's office and told him he wanted to start a scholarship.
He hadn't had the chance to go to college but wanted others to be able to get an education.
Nielsen described Schroeder as a "blue-collar, lunch-pail kind of guy."
Since his death in 2005, that money has been doled out to 33 Iowans.
"Dale's Kids" met for dinner to catch up on each other's lives and to honor the man who made their dreams possible. They sat around the old carpenter's lunch pail to share updates on their lives. Many are now doctors, teachers and therapists.
After having their college educations funded by a man they never met, "Dale's Kids" talk at a dinner and honor the Des Moines carpenter who helped their dreams come true.
Conard, whose dream of becoming a therapist has been financed by the fund, is the last person to receive one of Schroeder's scholarships; after putting 33 students through school, his fund is finally tapped out.
"For a man that would never meet me to give me basically a full ride to college, that's incredible. That doesn't happen," she said.
Schroeder's legacy lives on as Dale's Kids are making their mark on the world.
"All we ask is that you pay it forward," Nielsen said. "You can remember him, and you can emulate him."
Meanwhile, at a time when plastic has become a herculean menace for many countries, here in Ghana, young individuals are undertaking projects that turn plastic waste into fuel like grease, diesel and petrol for household use.
The project has received a GEFSGPGhana UNDP Ghana support to begin the pilot stage of the laudable initiative.
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