A 98-year-old Chicago man donated $2 million in Walgreens stock that he bought 70 years ago for $1,000 to a wildlife charity that then purchased a refuge and named it after him.
Russ Gremel bought the stock in Chicago-based Walgreens figuring that medicine and makeup would always be needed by consumers, the Chicago Tribune reported. Gremel held on to the stock as an investment, and almost 70 years later, it was worth $2 million.
Gremel never married and lived with his parents, then on his own in the same paid-for house for 95 years, the Tribune reported.
Describing himself as a “simple man,” he said no one know he was actually worth millions. He worked as a lawyer until age 45 when he retired after having saved most of his earnings, USA Today reported. He volunteered with the Boy Scouts and lived simply after retiring.
Gremel decided to donate the $2 million stock to the Illinois Audubon Society, which is establishing a 400-acre wildlife refuge it dedicated in his name Sunday. The Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary will contain more than 200 species of birds and 400 species of plants, WGNTV reported.
Gremel chose the Audubon Society because of his love of nature and the time he spent hiking and camping in his younger years.
“It’s incredibly generous,” Executive Director Jim Herkert said about the donation, the Tribune reported. “It’s allowing us to protect a really valuable and important piece of property and fulfill one of Russ’s wishes that we could find a place where people could come out and experience and enjoy nature the way he did as a kid.”
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