Bob Karlstrand is living proof that some people take the phrase “you can’t take it with you” quite literally and actually doing something amazing about it.
For 38 years, Karlstrand has lived in his Maple Grove, Minnesota home where he’s collected and stored pretty much everything.
“I never end up throwing anything away,” he says in this video produced by USA Today.
It appears that he acquired the trait from his mother who saved every letter he sent her while he was overseas, in Vietnam, serving in the military. He’s even held onto 535 golf score cards from his time spent trying to play every golf course in Minnesota.
But now, after 38 years, Bob Karlstrand is giving it all away to strangers. Yes, all of it.
“Maybe some pictures I’ll keep,” he tells USA Today. “In the end, it’s only material things.”
The 65-year-old veteran has cancer and a terminal lung disease so his time left on this Earth, he understands, is limited.
“I’ve had a good life,” he says, “so I can’t complain at all.”
The generous man with the epically-long grey beard has a huge heart, but what he doesn’t have is relatives. Karlstrand was an only child and he never married or had any children to which he could pass his possessions down.
Instead, he’s giving it all away. Even down to the living room carpet.
“I had people come in,” he tells USA Today, “and just take what they wanted.”
That’s not all though: He’s even giving his house away.
When Karlstrand passes away, he has promised the house to Habitat for Humanity, who will get the house in shape for a new owner that desperately needs it. The only stipulation that this selfless man made when he vowed to give his house away? That the new owner must be a military service veteran like him.
But if you think giving away all his worldly possessions and his house would be enough for Bob Karlstrand, you would be wrong. He also gave his entire $1 million retirement fund to the University of Minnesota Nursing School as an endowment.
Karlstrand when to University of Minnesota Business School and decided that he wanted to give something back before it was too late.
“Over the years,” he says in USA Today‘s video, “I’ve been very fortunate to know a lot of nurses. The fact that I know they’re going to be helped is enough for me.”
Karlstrand’s endowment paid the way for six scholarships this year and will provide for more in the future.
With his health waning, Bob Karlstrand may not know how much longer he’ll be alive, but we can guarantee that the memory and generosity of this extremely selfless man will now live on forever.
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