Kindness connection: Kansas farmers generous N95 mask donation is the gift that keeps on giving


TROY, Kan. (KSNT) – While random acts of kindness can easily make someone’s day, this specific act created a bond between two cities with the same name.

In April, a Kansas farmer sent a letter and N95 mask to the state of New York. The story quickly made national news.

The farmer, Dennis Ruhnke, lives in Troy, Kansas. Ruhnke made it clear in his letter that he wanted the mask to go to a healthcare worker in New York.

Ruhnke and his wife, Sharon, both in their 70s, had five masks on their farm but figured they would send the one they weren’t using to New York, which at the time was facing a shortage of personal protective equipment as the nation’s epicenter for coronavirus.

Ruhnke’s kindness created a ripple effect

Recently, the town of Troy, New York sent a care package to him and his family, as well as the mayor of Troy, Kansas.

“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,” Sarah Boeh-Cerra, Troy’s mayor, said. “This pandemic has really hit everybody and we need to all work together.

The packages included reusable masks, a hat, postcards, and pictures of the town in New York. The reusable masks were donated to the Troy, Kansas school district. The mayor said her biggest take away from all of this is for people to reach out to their neighbors, and be kind.

Or another way of putting it, be more like Dennis.

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