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Gabby Giffords to receive JFK courage award

March 10, 2013|By Debbie Goffa | This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
  • Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. (Joshua Lott / Getty Images )

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords, who was critically injured in a shooting two years ago, on Friday was named this year's recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award for her work to reduce gun violence.

Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona, has been undergoing rehabilitation after being shot in the head during a public appearance in Tuscon on Jan. 8, 2011. Six people died, including District Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Giffords' staffers; and the 9-year-old granddaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager and Chicago Cubs general manager Dallas Green.

“Gabby Giffords has inspired the world with her bravery and her dedication to making change through the political process,” Caroline Kennedy said in a statement. “Instead of retreating following the tragic shooting that ended her Congressional career, she has recommitted herself to fighting for a more peaceful society free from hate and violence.”

Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, have become vocal supporters of universal background checks on gun purchases. They formed the group Americans for Responsible Solutions to encourage elected officials to support measures that would prevent gun violence. The two have made a number of recent high-profile visits to various states in support of gun control legislation.

The statement cited the "political, personal, and physical courage she has demonstrated in her fearless public advocacy for policy reforms aimed at reducing gun violence."

The award is presented annually to those who have demonstrated political courage without regard for personal consequences. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the award in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment and contribution to public service. Previous winners include Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

The award is scheduled to be presented to Giffords at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston on May 5.

[For the record, 6:16 p.m. March 10: An earlier version of this post said Giffords would receive the award Sunday, March 10.  Actually, it’s Sunday, May 5.]

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