In praise of public service
The senseless killing of 14 people in Tucson last January still lingers in the minds of many Arizonans. One of those who tragically lost his life was Gabe Zimmerman, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ congressional staffer and director of community outreach. Zimmerman had organized the Congress on Your Corner event that tragic Saturday.
A Tucson native, Zimmerman was known for his true desire to help others. He worked as a field organizer for Giffords during her first congressional campaign in 2006. He became constituent services director when Giffords took office and eventually took on outreach duties, which put him in charge of logistics for all of Giffords’ public district events.
Gabe Zimmerman was the consummate public servant, a man who did the work and more, simply because he wanted to help others.
In honor of him, the Center for the Future of Arizona has created the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards program, a statewide competition created to honor non-elected professional public servants who serve as the critical link between citizens and the people elected to represent them.
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Arizona’s political reputation is not at its shiniest, with the endless news coverage of a handful of ruthless legislators and other elected officials, and contention among Arizonans around issues such as illegal immigration. Despite these headline grabbers, the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards offer the chance to acknowledge the dedication of well-meaning, professional public servants at all levels of the state’s government.
Recognition in three categories define the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards:
Leadership – The long-term achievements and efforts of public servants who have displayed and sustained leadership contributions throughout their careers, with a minimum of 20 years of public service;
Innovation – The achievements and efforts of public servants who have developed and contributed to implementing significant ideas and innovations that benefit Arizona citizens;
Civic engagement – The achievements and efforts of public servants who have materially helped inform, engage and connect citizens in ways to encourage their active participation in 21st-century democracy and community building.
All Arizonans who have direct knowledge of an outstanding public servant are invited and encouraged to nominate him or her in one of the above categories.
The first honorees of the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards will be honored at the 2011 National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) in Phoenix, September 22-23, the first time in the organization’s history that their national conference will be held somewhere other than Washington, D.C.
The conference, whose focus this year is “America’s Social Compact in Action,” will be the ultimate venue to commend three Arizonans who epitomize the best in public service: civic leaders, expert panelists and keynote speakers from around the country will be in attendance.
To learn more or to nominate an individual for the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards, visit thearizonawewant.org and download a nomination form. The deadline is July 22, 11:59 p.m.