HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A school district in South Mississippi recently became the beneficiary of a large, surprise donation.
School district officials said they were surprised when they learned that a Harrison County man had left more than $600,000 to the district following his death.
Darrell Saucier died in April and chose the school district as the beneficiary of his life savings, which totaled $642,884.84.
“We are truly amazed and deeply grateful to be the recipient of this generous gift from Mr. Darrell Saucier," said Superintendent Roy Gill. “This large donation shows that Mr. Saucier loved the children of this district and wanted to support their education."
It’s the largest donation the Harrison County School District has received in its 63-year history.
“We have been blessed by Mr. Saucier’s generosity, and we cannot thank him enough for wanting to invest in our students’ future,” said Gill. “Our hearts and prayers are with Mr. Saucier’s family. We pledge to honor Mr. Saucier’s wishes to use his donation to benefit the children of this community.”
With that much money comes a lot of responsibility. Saucier’s nephew, Dudley Carver, wishes his uncle had written out how he wanted the money to be used.
“That’s a pretty big hunk of money not to be used for what it’s intended for,” said Carver. “I wish he would have wrote it down.”
According to Carver, his uncle lived very modestly, with the majority of the money that was donated coming from the sale of the family farm several years ago.
“Uncle Darrell was a very private person, lived a quiet, beanie weenie, potted meat life. He wasn’t flashy about anything," he said.
Carver said his uncle was an Army veteran with no children of his own; and, despite the fact that there are no teachers in their family, Saucier firmly believed in education and wanted the money to go somewhere where it could help the most children.
“He would not want that (money) to be wasted,” said Carver. “He would want it to be used to help children.”
Even so, the large donation still came as a shock to Saucier’s loved ones.
“I’m surprised he didn’t send it to St. Jude (Children’s Hospital) or something, but I guess he wanted to help local kids,” said Carver.
Carver said he believes his uncle would want to see it spent on a playground at an elementary school or new computer monitors for the kids’ classrooms.