Gabe Zimmerman was an ideal fit for his job as director of community outreach for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
He was outgoing, interested in other people and had a knack for connecting with folks, according to his friends and colleagues. He died doing his job.
Zimmerman, 30, will be celebrated at a public memorial this morning, organized by the local branch of the Arizona State University School of Social Work. It will be held in the courtyard of the Sentinel building, 320 N. Commerce Park Loop. The event begins at 11 a.m.
For more information, call 884-5507, Ext. 10.
Zimmerman held a master's degree from the ASU School of Social Work and graduated with honors from UC-Santa Cruz with a degree in sociology in 2002.
Zimmerman was a natural for his outreach job, say people who knew him best.
"He was at Gabrielle's side at these 'Congresswoman on the Corner' events," recalled a longtime colleague, Tom Zoellner, an author and a volunteer in Giffords' campaigns. "He would take down their names and their information, and he would pledge to get to work on it. This stuff matters. The 'Congresswoman on the Corner' thing was Gabrielle's idea, but it was Gabe's bailiwick."
Zimmerman loved the Arizona outdoors and was a dedicated runner who hiked the Grand Canyon twice, going from the North to the South Rim.
Zimmerman was to be married to Kelly O'Brien, a nurse at Tucson Medical Center, who is a native of Yuma.
He offered an example of how to live a life of public service.
"He would go out of his way to help people in trouble," recalled Daniel Graver, who worked with him in Giffords' office.
"People would come into the congressional office, he would listen to them and give them money for a cab home. Some days during a campaign I would harass him to take a weekend off from his job to work on the campaign. He said to me that if I didn't work, people wouldn't make phone calls but if he didn't work, people didn't eat."
Arizona Daily Star
How to help
Two scholarship funds have been established in honor of Gabe Zimmerman, the director of community outreach for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who died in a shooting rampage Saturday.
The family set up a fund in Zimmerman's name at Child & Family Resources, where Zimmerman served on the board.
Donations can be made online at www.childfamilyresources.org or mailed to Child & Family Resources, 2800 E. Broadway, Tucson, AZ 85716.
For more information, call 321-3778 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, two alumni of the University of California-Santa Cruz set up a scholarship fund in his memory.
• Tucson Tragedy Victim Fund. How to contribute: Send a check to Homicide Survivors Inc. (memo line: Tucson Tragedy Victim Fund), 32 N. Stone Ave., Suite 1408, Tucson, AZ 85701. Contributions are tax-deductible.
• Tragedy in Tucson Victims' Fund. How to contribute: Go to www.kvoa.com/pages/tragedy-in-tucson-time-to-heal
• The American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter is accepting donations for those who wish to honor U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. How to contribute: Go to www.redcrossarizona.org/giffords
• The Community Food Bank is accepting donations. How to contribute: Go to communityfoodbank.com