10/14/2013 04:27 pm ET

Gabrielle Giffords Receives Army Decoration For Distinguished Civilian Service


Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) received the Army Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service Thursday at the Pentagon. The award serves to honor those who have made significant contributions toward fulfilling the Army's mission.

"Gabby continues to be a great inspiration and a role model for her community, her state, the Army, the American people and members of Congress," said Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal, who presented Giffords with the award Oct. 10. "She cared about soldiers and their families and worked hard on their behalf."

Giffords was honored for her efforts as a congresswoman to secure funding for the Army's modernization projects, including her influential role developing renewable energy at military installations through the 2011 Giffords-Udall Department of Defense Energy Security Act. Westphal also commended Giffords' dedication to passing legislation like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit, which worked to alleviate service members' tax hardships. She additionally supported legislation aimed at aiding soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Giffords herself survived an assassination attempt in Jan. 2011 in which she sustained a critical head injury. Despite her continued recovery and resignation from Congress, Giffords' commitment to the Army has not wavered, Westphal said.

"My spirit is as strong as ever. I'm still fighting to make the world a better place," Giffords said after receiving the award. "You too can make this world a better place. Be passionate. Be Courageous. Be your best."



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