BEVERLY HILLS (CBS) — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was among a group of heroes honored Wednesday evening at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Beverly Hills.
Giffords stepped down from her congressional seat to concentrate on her physical rehabilitation. She and eighteen other people were shot during a public meeting held January 8, 2011 in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona. Six of the wounded died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll; one of Rep. Giffords’ staffers; and Christina-Taylor Green, 9.
This evening, an audience applauded Giffords as she accepted a medal of valor award, for her resilience.
Hand in hand with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords stood in front of a capacity crowd. As the honor was bestowed around her neck, she was told “It is a special honor.”
Kelly was also honored at the national tribute dinner for standing by his wife. “She’s a person that never gives up,” he told reporter Suzie Suh. “She continues to fight just like a lot of the folks here tonight fighting for what they believe in.” And she told the crowd she is a fighter. As her husband held her arm aloft, she said, “Fight, fight, fight.”
And Kelly told Suh his wife continues to make amazing progress every day. “She reminds me all the time to deny the acceptance of failure.”
Other award winners include Elisabeth Mann, a holocaust survivor who was thanked for her leadership.
Film and TV producer Jerry Brukheimer (“CSI”) was given a humanitarian award. “”My mother lost some family in holocaust so this is a very important event for us. This is a great honor for my wife, myself and my family.”
Bruckheimer friend, hockey great Wayne Gretzky said of Bruckheimer, “Jerry is the only guy I know in the world that has a hockey rink in the middle of Louisville. So I go to the Kentucky Derby and play ice hockey on Jerry’s farm. He’s such a wonderful person. He’s done so much for charity.
The Tuskegee Airman also were honored and remembered for their courage.