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Kansas farmer makes COVID-19 donation

Kansas farmer makes COVID-19 donation

Dennis Ruhnke mailed his last mask to New York

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A small gesture from a retired Doniphan County, Kan. farmer is receiving national attention.

After ensuring his family members each had a mask and checking if local health care workers could use one, 72-year-old Dennis Ruhnke sent the last of his five N95 masks to New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo to help someone in the state where COVID-19 is hitting the hardest in the U.S.

“Well, everybody’s got to do their part,” Ruhnke said, WGRZ reported on April 25. “And as small as mine was, still I felt pretty good about doing it. When I closed the mailbox lid, I thought this is the way it should be, probably.”

Dennis and shanon
Dennis and Sharon Ruhnke/AP photo/Charlie Riedel

As of Tuesday, New York state has 292,000 confirmed cases of the virus with more than 17,000 deaths.

For context, the next closest state is New Jersey with 111,000 cases and about 6,000 deaths.

Along with the mask, Ruhnke sent a hand-written letter from himself and his wife, Sharon, to New York’s governor.

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But at his daily coronavirus update on April 24, Governor Cuomo read the letter aloud to highlight the human spirit and the togetherness of America during these difficult times.

“You want to talk about a snapshot of humanity,” the governor said after reading the letter. “You have five masks. What do you do? Do you keep all five? … No, you send one mask – one mask – to New York to help a nurse or a doctor. How beautiful is that?” has reached out to Ruhnke for comment.

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