UST TO MAKE SURE the message gets across, Dale tries
to meet everyone who comes by.
“A lady come here yesterday, she had drove all the way
from the other side of Charlotte,” he says. “She had just
spent $62,000 on her daughter, who had come out of
rehab. I told her to go in that closet. I said, ‘You go home,
you get in that closet with that Man.’ I said, ‘You don’t
have to talk out loud. Whether it’s in your car, or your
bathroom, your bedroom, get down on your knees and
talk to Him. He’ll hear you, and you’ll be surprised.’”
Dale does more than talk to people. Fort Apache is open most days during the
summer. But you won’t find Dale there on Tuesday mornings. That’s when he makes
the rounds of area thrift stores, collecting donations that end up in his own store. Or
in the big trailer out back in the junkyard.
“We go and pick up and they donate to us,” he says. “We’ve got Boiling Springs,
Southport and Leland that we have to hit on Tuesdays. All them keeps us going.”
The stores are willing to donate because Dale doesn’t keep the money, at least not
any more than he needs to keep the place open. Some of the proceeds go to area
ministries. He fills the trailers with bags of clothes, donating them to a nonprofit
that takes them to Haiti.
“They need them over there more than we do here,” he says.
The generosity is one of the reasons Daniel Shelton stops by whenever he’s in town.
“Words can’t describe him,” Daniel says. “Just thinking about how his life’s been, it
kind of brings a tear to your eye. It’s just touching. He’s shared a lot with me. He’d do
anything. He’d give you the shirt off his back. I know he would. I’ve got faith in him.
He’d help anybody. You don’t meet many people like that, at least not in these days.”
It’s all part of the new Dale, the one who rejected the greedy Dale.
“I try to help people now,” Dale says. “We can’t take nothin’ with us when we