MANHATTAN, Kan. – A retired Kansas farmer who mailed the governor of New York an N-95 mask was recently given a bachelor’s degree.
Dennis Ruhnke gained national attention in April when he donated the respirator mask to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Even though his wife has only one lung, Ruhnke said the mask should be used by a doctor or nurse.
Gov. Cuomo read the letter Ruhnke wrote him during a briefing as an example of generosity during the coronavirus pandemic.
I received this letter from a farmer in northeast Kansas. His wife is ill and he is aging.
He sent me 1 of 5 N95 masks he has from farming to pass on to a doctor or nurse in New York.
This is humanity at its best. I share his letter as inspiration. pic.twitter.com/Fa4h5LH9rL
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 24, 2020
It seems Ruhnke has been selfless for much of his life.
In 1971, he was two credits away from earning his degree in agriculture when his father passed away. So, he chose to leave school to take care of his mother and their family farm, according to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.
This week, Gov. Kelly joined Kansas State President Richard Myers in presenting Ruhnke with a degree in agriculture – almost 50 years after he dropped out.
“Dennis’ kindness and lifelong career in agriculture make him more than qualified to receive a degree,” wrote Gov. Kelly on Facebook.