The Hays Medical Center Foundation drive-through flu shots again were considered an overwhelming success by organizers. On Sunday, 3,493 people were given free flu immunizations. It was the 16th year the foundation has sponsored this event and underwritten the costs of the vaccine.

“It is a privilege to be able to support this effort in the community,” said Ruth Heffel, Hays Medical Center Foundation director. “Getting a flu shot is one of the easiest things people can do to take good care of their health, and we are pleased to be a part of this community program.”

The success of the event hinges on the volunteers who give their time to make it possible. Fort Hays State University faculty and nursing students were there early drawing up doses and giving shots during the event. Along with them were more than 50 HaysMed employees who set up, gave shots, directed traffic, provided meals and generally did anything that needed to be done to make the event run smoothly.

“Our volunteers are the best,” said Kim Koerner, RN, associate health nurse at HaysMed and event organizer. “We love working with FHSU, and our own HaysMed associates never fail to give generously of their time so we can provide this much-needed free service.”

The food drive for the Community Assistance Center also is something the community rallies around.

This year, the drive raised 2,140 pounds of food and $100 in cash. The food donation has been a part of the event every year and is coordinated by the HaysMed information technology department.

“It’s a great opportunity for our department to give back to the community,” said Scott Rohleder, director of information technology at HaysMed. “Many of our associates bring their family to spend the day and help out.”

After 16 years, the process has been honed and the event usually goes like clockwork. The only item that really changes is the cost of the vaccine. While the exact cost of this year’s vaccine is not available, the figures from past years show in 2000 the cost for 2,300 doses was $4,823.10, and last year, the cost was $37,148.94 for 3,385 doses.

Contributions to the HaysMed Foundation for activities such as this and other hospital programs can be made by calling the foundation office at (785) 623-2350 or visiting www.haysmedfoundation.org