Slain Giffords Aide Gabe Zimmerman May Be Honored With Permanent Capitol Memorial
WASHINGTON -- Just over six months after the Jan. 8 massacre in Tucson that killed six people and injured Rep. Gabrielle GIffords (D-Ariz.), members of Congress announced plans Tuesday to dedicate a room in the Capitol complex to Gabe Zimmerman, a congressional aide who was killed in the shooting.
Members of the Arizona delegation joined Giffords' good friend Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and members of Zimmerman's family to announce their intent to introduce a resolution to name Room HVC-215 in the Capitol Visitor Center "The Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room" in honor of his service and sacrifice.
A visibly emotional Wasserman Schultz praised Zimmerman, who served as a community outreach director in Giffords' Tuscon office at the time of his death. "Clearly, Gabe loved people, and he had a way about him that invited conversation," she said. "People would come into the congressional office, he would listen to them, and give them money for a cab home."
Freshman Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) said the dedicated room would ensure that Zimmerman's legacy lives on among members of Congress and their staffs. "As years go by and the memory and pain of that day fade away, people will walk by [this room], new members, new staff, and they'll ask 'Who was Gabe Zimmerman?' and they'll hear his story and learn about him, and his memory will carry on."
Zimmerman's brother, Ben Zimmerman, spoke slowly and paused often to regain his composure. He reflected, "Gabe really enjoyed his time…working for Congresswoman Giffords. [He] approached his job with openness and kindness, recognizing his gift."
The room is approximately 40 feet by 50 feet, with tan walls, dark-stained wooden columns and recessed lighting. The resolution will be sponsored by Wasserman Schultz and Arizona Republican Rep. Dave Schweikert, but a Giffords spokeswoman said many more co-sponsors are expected once the resolution is formally introduced later Tuesday.
Wasserman Schultz told reporters that she hasn't seen Giffords since the aborted space shuttle launch on April 29, but said she plans to visit her next weekend.