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Community repays a farmer’s generosity

Community repays a farmer’s generosity

The town of Troy, N.Y. sent a care package to a farmer in Troy, Kan.

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A farmer’s act of kindness has brought together two communities with the same name.

Residents from the town of Troy, N.Y., located in Rensselaer County, sent a care package to Dennis Ruhnke and his wife, Sharon, who live in Troy, Kan. in Doniphan County.

The New York community mailed a package consisting of reusable masks, a hat, postcards, souvenirs and items from local businesses to the Ruhnkes to thank them for a generous donation Dennis made a few months ago.

In April, as New York faced a shortage of personal protective equipment in the early days of the pandemic, Ruhnke mailed the last of his N95 masks to New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo to help a health care worker in the state.

Ruhnke included a letter with the mask, which Cuomo read during his daily coronavirus update on April 24.

After the governor read the Kansas farmer’s letter, more mask donations started to come in.

“I was personally touched by this, because my daughter Eliza works in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and part of her job is accepting donated items,” Patrick Madden, mayor of Troy, N.Y., wrote in a letter to the Runkhes, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. “She informed me that following the governor’s recognition of your act of kindness, they received hundreds of additional mask donations, many with notes citing your act as inspiration.”

Sarah Boeh-Cerra, mayor of the Kansas community, also received a similar package from the New York town.

These small gestures are a sign that collaborative efforts will help everyone get through the pandemic, she said.

“I’m completely humbled by the fact that a town of 70,000 people, approximately the size of our neighbors to the east, St. Joseph, Missouri, had sent us a care package saying ‘Hey, we’re thinking of you,’” she said, KSNT reported. “This pandemic has really hit everybody and we need to all work together.”

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