In many ways, 98-year-old Russ Gremel is like any other man his age.
He lives a simple, frugal life and enjoys being able to wake up each morning without any major hardships.
For 95 years, Russ has lived in the same house in Chicago, Illinois.
Neighbors have come and gone, but none of them has had a clue about the secret Russ was keeping from them.
But recently they found out everything and were speechless when they heard the truth.
Russ Gremel’s family lost everything but its house in the stock market crash of 1929.
That difficult time taught Russ to be happy and content with what he had.
“I’m a very simple man,” explains Russ, who still lives that same house in Chicago.
But even though Russ lives a simple life, he is in fact a multimillionaire, writes The Chicago Tribune.
It all began when Russ’ brother suggested he buy some shares of the pharmacy chain Walgreens. That was 70 years ago.
“Old people people will always need medication and women will always buy cosmetics,” his brother explained at the time.
Russ bought $1,000 worth of shares.
To Russ’ surprise, the value of his Walgreens’ stock took off at a furious face.
Since Russ never sold his shares, they eventually became worth about $2 million.
Did it change Russ’s life? Hardly.
He continued to live a modest life. He’s always lived by himself and never got married or had children. And he never told anyone that he’s a millionaire.
“He has always lived frugally,” neighbor Patrick Falso told Today.
Russ Gremel never touched his stocks until 2017.
But then, he donated his Walgreens’ shares to the Illinois Audobon Society, which used it to create a 400-acre wildlife refuge.
The idea behind the refuge, named Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary in Russ’ honor, is among other things, that children should enjoy nature.
“You have to do some good in this world. That’s what money is for,” says Russ.
The sanctuary is home to a few hundred bird species, but it’s also a place for people to enjoy and learn about nature.
Russ, who is still active in the Boy Scouts, visits the park on a regular basis.
But Russ’ generosity doesn’t end with this beautiful nature reserve.
After making the generous donation, Russ adopted an abandoned little Chihuahua named Tiger. It’s clear these two get along well. Hopefully, Tiger will keep Russ company for many years to come.
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