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National award honors local nurse

It was her dream and she made it come true. Kathy Dunn, a registered nurse with the Grand Forks Public Health Department, wanted to provide people an efficient way to get flu shots. In 2001, she created and organized the first drive-through flu s...

It was her dream and she made it come true.

Kathy Dunn, a registered nurse with the Grand Forks Public Health Department, wanted to provide people an efficient way to get flu shots. In 2001, she created and organized the first drive-through flu shot clinic at the Grand Forks Public Works building.

Saturday, she will be honored for her ingenuity at a ceremony in Parkwood Place, where she will be given a Daughters of the American Revolution Community Service Award.

Her first clinic was a success, according to Peggy Vanyo, a member of the Grand Forks Daughters of the American Revolution, Prairie Grass Chapter, who helped complete the nomination materials for the award.

Dunn began planning for the 2002 clinic by reaching out to personnel at Altru Hospital and nursing students at UND and Northland Community and Technical College. More than 300 cars went through her clinic that year and in 2003 the number grew to more than 700, with couples and whole families driving through the Public Works building to get their flu shots.

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The next few years, Dunn's plans were thwarted by a shortage of the vaccine. But she kept planning and, since then, the drive-through clinic has become an annual event in Grand Forks. In 2006, she scheduled the flu shot clinic on Election Day, using a slogan of "Vote and Vaccinate."

Dunn not only organizes the clinics, she also obtains grants from various agencies to help support the event.

As the word got out, state health departments across the U.S. wanted to know more about Dunn's program. She put together a presentation on how they could establish their own drive-through clinics, and now her program has become the "model program" for Arizona, Maine, Virginia and other states, Vanyo said.

Dunn, formerly of Jamestown, N.D., married and raised a family there. When the children grew up, a move to Grand Forks enabled her to enroll at the College of Nursing at UND, where she graduated in 1981.

The Community Service Award recognizes voluntary achievements in cultural, educational, humanitarian, patriotic, historical, citizenship and environmental conservation areas. The award recipient is chosen by the National Community Service Award Committee of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The Daughters of the American Revolution, founded in 1890, is a volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America's future through better education for children.

Reach Nagel at (701) 780-1262, (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or anagel@gfherald.com .

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