A farmer from Troy, Kansas was so moved by the images he saw of coronavirus patients in New York hospitals, that he decided to do something about it.
Dennis Ruhnke was a retired farmer and had an unused N95 face mask, which he sent to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo along with a note asking Cuomo to pass the mask to a doctor or nurse.
But he never expected Cuomo to even read the letter or even share it in of his daily news briefings, he called Ruhnke’s action “humanity at its best.”
This kind act prompted local officials and a neighbor to try to fulfill one of Ruhnke’s dreams of receiving his college diploma.
Ruhnke was just two credits away from earning his degree in agriculture from Kansas State University when he had to drop out in 1971.
His father had died and Ruhnke had to take over the family farm, although he always wished to return back to college, but time passed and his credits were no longer valid.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) and Kansas State President Richard Myers found a way out to award Ruhnke with his degree on Tuesday.
“Dennis is a Kansas agriculturist in every sense of the word, and today, we’re simply giving him the paperwork to make it official,” Kelly said. Ruhnke said that people have been asking him how they can help, and he tells them to “just pay it forward as much as you can afford to do so” in honor of first responders and those who have died of COVID-19.
Ruhnke would have never dreamt that his act of giving away his last N95 mask would help him in getting his lifelong dream of graduation realized.