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Man Leaves Collection Of Vintage Cars To His Church

A Man in Minnesota with no family and no biological legacy leaves a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.

Dennis Erickson served as an usher at Celebration Church for 15 years, he had no spouse, no kids, no brothers or sisters. The church really was his family. Instead, he devoted himself to his church and his collection of cars until he died in his sleep sometime in December.

After he passed away, he left his historic collection of automobiles, both full-size vintage cars and thousands of models, and his modest two-story home in Eagan, Minnesota to Celebration Church. Now the Church is celebrating him.

In a interview with  CBS News  the pastor of the Celebration Church Pastor Derrick Ross said  he was overwhelmed by the man's generosity.

"A lot went through my mind. Not much came out of my mouth," Ross said. "For a guy who talks a lot, it was not often that I'm found at a lack of words. And yet, it was in that moment that I became overwhelmed with his generosity."

It's hard not to be overwhelmed, seeing, for the first time, all the model cars, trucks, tractors and buses Dennis collected for six decades, ever since he was 9 years old. His collection includes everything from Lamborghinis to Cadillacs and fire engines. There are more than 32,000 cars models, believed to be one of the largest private collections in the world.they are quite the treasure.

The 69-year-old engineer designed cabinets and cases to showcase the collection, which he parked in the living room, bathroom, laundry room, closets, basement, and even in the bedrooms.

His five preserved classics, including a 1959 Edsel and Henry Ford's second mechanical marvel, the 1931 Ford Model A ,which are all still in beautiful condition. 

Since May, Erickson's gift has raised around $400,000. One family of five put down $14,000 for the Edsel. The Model A fetched $8,000; his Caprice, another $2,500. One baby's grandmother even chipped in $250 for a peddle car.

Erickson's house was also sold, so volunteers from the church helped clean all those shelves full of cars, which just this week were transported to an auction house in Cincinnati.

The estate's price tag, which also includes a newly discovered $48,000 annuity, could total $750,000. It will make it possible to build more classrooms at the church and expand its school.

Pastor Ross said the congregation has doubled in size in the past year. The church is still hoping to break ground by December, a year after Erickson's death.

"It is hard to not take pride in the gift of one man because there was nothing I did or we did to earn it or deserve it," Ross said. "But it was just Dennis leaving his possessions to his family, which is his church family."

"One year later, his impact will be visible from the road," Ross said.

The church said two serious buyers have already come forward, even before it has begun accepting offers. The only requirement for buyers is that the collection be kept together for others to enjoy.

Now people, this man has truly touched a lot of lives....Happy Sunday People!!

Source: CBS News

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