Retired Kansas Farmer Who Mailed N95 Mask to Andrew Cuomo Is Awarded Honorary College Degree



"Dennis recently sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with an N95 mask to give to a nurse or doctor in New York," Kelly continued.

Ruhnke was two credits away from earning his degree in agriculture in 1971 when his father passed away, the governor explained. He chose to leave school to tend to the family farm and take care of his aging mother.

"Dennis’ kindness and lifelong career in agriculture make him more than qualified to receive a degree," Kelly said.

With the degree, Ruhnke will officially be known an alumnus of Kansas State, Myers said during a ceremony on Tuesday.

“I’ve waited half a century to receive my college degree and had pretty much written off any chance of getting it,” Ruhnke said of the honor, according to the Leavenworth Times. “It would not have happened had I not mailed in that one N95 mask to Governor Cuomo for a first responder."

“I guess you call it karma. Many of those who wrote to me to thank me asked me how they could help," he continued. "Just pay it forward as much as you can afford to do so to honor all of those who lost their lives to the C-19 virus. And also to honor the first responders who in some cases also lost their own lives in the line of duty. The ultimate sacrifice.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the United States has seen 1,2 million cases and 72,308 deaths due to coronavirus, according to a New York Times database. New York, meanwhile, accounts for 326,659 cases and 25,028 deaths.

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