On January 8th, 2011, then Congresswoman for Arizona Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with several others at a constituent meet and greet in Tucson, Arizona.
A few years later, on this date in 2014, this remarkable woman did something equally remarkable to mark the occasion and celebrate the fact that she was still alive…by doing a tandem skydive.
I had heard nothing of the planned skydive, but I’m lucky enough to be able to go down to Skydive Arizona in Eloy, AZ almost every January to skydive for a week or so with a group of other Canadians. That afternoon, on a break between my own skydives, I happened to notice a cluster of TV cameras and family members gathered near the main landing area (where tandems land) looking to the sky and chattering among themselves.
Almost immediately after the tandem pair they were watching landed, I realised who it was, as Gabby Giffords walked back our way with her distinctive gait. Her husband, shuttle/space station astronaut Mark Kelly – his twin brother Scott later spent an entire year aboard the ISS – retired after the shooting to care for his wife, and was now here to cheer her on and escort her back from the landing area.
I grabbed my camera and managed to shoot a few seconds of video that you can see HERE.
The media was all over it that day, with one outlet covering the couple right through the experience, including her phone chat with Vice President Joe Biden just before Giffords’ ride up.
Top to bottom (pun intended) a beautiful and uplifting (that one, too) celebration by Gabby of her survival, and ongoing zest for life.
Here’s that report: