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Gordon Pipers surprise volunteers at IMS vaccine clinic

The group marched and played Friday to pay tribute to the people who made the clinics possible.

SPEEDWAY, Ind — 16 days saw more than 70,000 Hoosiers get vaccinated at clinics at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway recently.

People like Andrew Palmer and his wife, who pulled into an IMS garage Friday afternoon. Minutes later, they had their shots. 

“It didn’t hurt," Andrew said. "It was nice and quick. We’ve been here maybe less than 10 minutes.”

All thanks to the almost 1,500 volunteers who staffed the clinics. 

“That really speaks to how much they believe in this vaccine and how much they want to help our community,” said IU Health's Kristen Kelley. 

Kelley was talking about volunteers like registered nurse Kristine Brannock. 

“This last year, over a year, has been so rough on everyone," said Brannock. "To me, this is like crossing the finish line at the Indy 500. This is where we want to be."

Brannock was at IMS Friday afternoon when she heard the sound of bagpipes. It was the Gordon Pipers, saluting volunteers and the Indiana National Guard for their work. 

They marched and played for them as a tribute to all their hard work. 

“I was doing my thing and I heard them, so I ran out to video them,” said volunteer Anne Oteham. 

“These are our friends and we wanted to come out and play for our friends and we want to honor the people that have been out here giving these shots and take care of people,” said Douglas Hardwick, Gordon Pipers president.

Friday’s vaccine clinic isn’t the last at IMS. There are more set for the month of May. 

“We’re not done yet,” said Kelley. 

Friday’s surprise from the Gordon Pipers was the kind of thank you gesture to help get these volunteers over the finish line. 

“We don’t do it for that, and so when we get it and people say thank you, that just drives us and keeps us going,” said Brannock.

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