The retired Kansas farmer who sent New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo an N95 mask in March when the state suffered medical shortages as the coronavirus crisis worsened has been given an honorary degree, CNN reported on Wednesday.
"Dennis [Ruhnke]'s kindness and lifelong career in agriculture make him more than qualified to receive a degree," Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said in a Facebook post.
Kelly, who together with Kansas State University President Richard Myers, presented Ruhnke with a bachelor's degree Tuesday during a ceremony, explained that in 1971 Ruhnke “was two credits away from earning his degree in agriculture when his father passed away. He chose to leave school to take care of his mother and the family farm.”
Ruhnke had sent the mask to Cuomo with a letter that read, "If you could, would you please give this mask to a nurse or doctor in your state?"
The mask was one of five remaining from his farming days, Ruhnke said in the letter.
After Ruhnke made the donation, Kelly called to thank him for being such an wonderful ambassador for Kansas.
Cuomo also praised Ruhnke, noting that his wife has diabetes and only one lung.
"How beautiful is that," Cuomo said of their sacrifice. "It's that love, that courage, that generosity of spirit that makes this country so beautiful," adding that the gesture was humanity at its best.
Brian Freeman ✉
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.