Vietnam War veteran Bob Karlstrand is fighting colon cancer and terminal lung disease, but that has not stopped him from donating his money and his house to help those in need.
Karlstrand, an only child who never married or had children, spent 38 years living in his Maple Grove, Minnesota home and has already agreed to donate it to the Habitat for Humanity charity. His home will be rehabbed and will go to a veteran in need, as he specifically requested.
"I wanted to give back to the veterans if I could," he said.
“I’ve got a terminal illness and I don’t have a family,” Karlstrand said. “I’ve received world-class medical treatment at the Veterans hospital in Minneapolis. I thought the least I could do was to sell my house and give the money away and then I heard about the Habitat program to rehab the house and sell it to a veteran. It’s sometimes harder for veterans to find a job and a house.”
Karlstrand has been getting rid of all of his possessions hoping they could benefit someone else, including toys, books, appliances and furniture. "I had people come in and just take what they wanted," he said.
"Most of the things I can remember having. Maybe some pictures I'll keep but in the end it's only material things," he said, appreciating everything he has experienced in his life. "I've had a good life so I can't complain at all.”
His generosity did not stop there. He donated his retirement fund of $1 million to the nursing program at the University of Minnesota, which has provided six scholarships this year and many more to come.
"Over the years I've been very fortunate to know a lot of nurses. Well, maybe not so fortunate to know a lot of nurses," Karlstrand said. "The fact that I know they are going to be helped is good enough for me.”
Habitat for Humanity is accepting donations to help rehab Karlstrand’s home.