Man who lived modestly leaves millions in surprise donations

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man known for frugally foraging for firewood has bequeathed millions of dollars to his local library and hospital.

Ronald Read left $4.8 million to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and $1.2 million to the Brooks Memorial Library upon his death in June at the age of 92. The Brattleboro Reformer reports they're the largest gifts either has received.

Read served in World War II before returning home in 1945. He was a private, modest man who worked at a service station for nearly 25 years, then at JC Penney until 1997.

But lawyer Laurie Rowell says Read had two hobbies: cutting firewood and picking stocks. She says over time, his investments "grew substantially."

The institutions who received the surprise donations say they'll be transformative.

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