The Forklift Philanthropist

Matel Dawson 2I recently became aware of a Surprise Millionaire who created quite a sensation a few years ago by the name of Matel “Matt” Dawson, Jr. more affectionately known around Detroit as the “forklift philanthropist”.

Born in Shreveport Louisiana, Mr. Dawson spent his formative years surviving the great depression and the inequality of that time.  He wasn’t able to go to high school as he had to work to help support his family, but that didn’t mean he was opposed to scholastics.

On the contrary, Mr. Dawson believed that education was a tremendous thing and wanted young people to pursue their dreams without the worry of financial strain.    This Detroit forklift operator who worked more than 60 years at his job gave a total of $1.25 million in scholarship money over his lifetime to deserving young people.   He lived frugally, invested wisely and was able to help many others in the process.  Another inspiring Surprise Millionaire story!

Most Inspiring Story Ever!

Those of you who have been following the Surprise Millionaires for a while know that I Gipson, Nelsonhave posted and reported on many inspiring and wonderful people.  But I have never been as moved as I was reading this man’s story.  A humble and consummate gentleman who lived his life quietly while serving and giving back to his community.  You can’t read this man’s story and not be inspired.

Who I Would Like To Be

Don Ryder - modernI came across an article about a quiet man in Baldwinsville New York who left an estate of $750,000 to local charities for the benefit of his community.  This man has become my new hero; not for the wealth he accumulated or what he left for charity (which are wonderful things), but for how he lived his life.

The article goes into a lot of detail about this gentleman’s life story but I believe it can best be summed up by this quote from a neighbor and friend:

 “He kept his place very, very neat.” said John Kerniski, Ryder’s friend and neighbor since Don Ryder - Servicethe early 1970s. “His house and storage barn were methodically organized. And he was always well-dressed and well-mannered. I think he took pride in being well-presented.”

And there it is; a man who took pride in his home and property treated people with respect and strove to be well-presented in everything he did.  If we all tried to live in this way I am sure that the world would be a much kinder and saner place!

He Makes Millions in Order to Give it Away

A 90-year-old self-made millionaire recently donated $750,000 to  SacraTschannenmento State University to assist with the building of a new sports facility.  In fact, Ernest Tschannen has donated millions to various charities over the years.  Although this would be an inspiring story in and of itself, it appears there is more.

According to Mr. Tschanne, he makes money or accumulates wealth with the express purpose of giving it away!  It has been his life’s work.  Now that is inspiring!

A Rare Glimpse Into A Life

I am very pleased to share this short documentary on one of my original Surprise Millionaires, social worker Jane Buri.  This is a rare glimpse into the life of one of the amazing individuals I profile on this blog.  I hope you are inspired by her story .

Unfortunately, the video documentary is no longer available, but I have linked to a news article regarding this amazing lady!   

The Return of the Hard Rock’n Mamma!

I was thrilled to find an article on my Surprise Millionaire and Greatful Dead devotee, Phyllis A. Stone with a series of pictures!  She is one of the most entertaining people that I have had the privilege of profiling on my blog and one of the most popular among my readers.  Enjoy!

Phyllis Stone Check

One Hundred Years Of A Life Well Lived

The video below shows St. Louis area resident Waldemar Klasing celebrating his 100th birthday in 2011.  Mr. Klasing passed away in 2012 leaving a little something for his alma mater Washington University – a $1 million donation from a Surprise Millionaire!  By now, you all know the story, no one knew he had “that kind of money”.  That is undoubtedly just the way he wanted it!