A retired Kansas farmer who sent a single N95 mask to New York’s governor said he did it because “his address was on the internet,” according to a report.
Dennis Ruhnke, 72, sent one of five extra masks he had to Andrew Cuomo after hearing about shortages on the news and looked up the governor’s address online, he told the Lawrence Journal-World.
“I didn’t know who else to send it to. His address was on the internet. So I chose him,” Ruhnke told the outlet.
In his letter, handwritten on a yellow notepad, Ruhnke wrote that the mask was a leftover from his farming days.
“It has never been used. If you could, could you please give this mask to a nurse or a doctor in your city,” the letter reads.
He would have “felt terrible” if he had thrown it away, Ruhnke told the Associated Press.
“It made me feel pretty good to send it on to somebody who might be able to use it,” he said.
Cuomo read the letter during his daily briefing Friday, praising Ruhnke’s “generosity of spirit.”
“You want to talk about a snapshot of humanity. You have five masks, what do you do? Do you keep all five? Do you hide the five masks, do you keep them for yourself or others? No, you send one mask. You send one mask to New York for a doctor or nurse. How beautiful is that? How selfless is that? How giving is that?” Cuomo said.
But Ruhnke said he didn’t like the attention the gift has brought him.
“It’s my 15 minutes of fame, and I hope it’s over later today,” he said.
Kansas has reported 3,056 total COVID-19 cases, with 117 deaths and 474 hospitalizations, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
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