More often than not, it seems like the chief pursuit of people who are among the wealthiest in society, is to … just make their fortunes even bigger. Fortunately, that is not always the case. 98-year-old Russ Gremel has just donated two million dollars in stock to create a 395-acre wildlife refuge! The goal of the Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary will be to protect wetlands in Amboy, Illinois – a valuable area that is a home to numerous species of birds, rare turtles, and other animals.
Gremel’s road to fortune started with the purchase of 1,000 dollars worth of stock in the pharmacy chain Walgreens, some 70 years ago. This investment made him rich – but Gremel never really used the money. Instead, he donated all of his stock to the Illinois Audubon Society which will now create the sanctuary.
Throughout all the years, no one even knew that Gremel was a millionaire. He has led a simple life, and a very good one at that – a “hell of a good life … I’m a very simple man,” Gremel told Chicago Tribune. “I never let anybody know I had that kind of money.” He drives an old car and prefers oatmeal to any “fancy foods.” He is known to everyone as a wonderful person with a big heart. To them, his donation is not that much of a shock – he just is a kind of person who does those kinds of things, if given a chance. And, luckily, he did get that chance. He is now excited for the big project but does not wish to draw too much attention to himself.
What exactly are Gremel’s motivations in making the huge investment, one may ask? It is really very simple – he feels the need and recognizes the necessity of doing something good for the world we live in and helping it. Gremel wishes people would come out to the sanctuary that is going to bear his name and enjoy nature the way he did – when he was a kid.
“You have to do some good in this world,” he says. “That’s what money is for.”
Image source: Illinois Audubon Society/Facebook