At the recent National Caring Awards we watched Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly get honored for their work against gun violence. Whenever they get introduced they are invariably introduced as former US Representative and the former Astronaut/Navy Captain; which seems to me to dramatically overemphasize who they once were, rather than who they are now; it’s as if their most significant accomplishments are behind them.

At this event they were honored not for who they were, but for who they now are. Since Gabby survived a near fatal gunshot wound to the head in 2011, and over these last 4 years, she and her husband Mark have become National spokespersons against gun violence, and strong advocates for Congressional enactment of responsible gun laws.

Gabby still has a partial paralysis on her right side, but her physical, cognitive, and language ability are in the top 5% of patients recovering from similar injuries. When they walked to the podium to accept their award, their presence lit up the room. They told us their lives dramatically changed in the flash of a second, and the road to recovery has not been easy. The biggest lesson they learned was to be thankful for wherever you are in your life; for all the positive things you have, your health, your family, your career; and if you can make a contribution that helps others… that makes us very happy.

The former US Representative Gabby Giffords, and the former Navy Captain/ Astronaut Mark Kelly worked hard earlier in their lives and made great contributions to America. They are still working hard every day; Gabby works every day to overcome the residual of her gunshot wound. On Saturday she completed the El Tour de Tucson bicycling event funride for which she trained for 6 months. Every day she and Mark remind us to get serious about gun legislation.

They inspire me, these two “Former’s” walking arm in arm, still making contributions to leave this Nation a safer and healthier place.

During this Thanksgiving week Relatives, say thank you for everything that you have in your life.

I say this for all my relations, Mi Takuye Oyacin

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