Giffords serves Thanksgiving dinner to airmen in Tucson

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In her first public appearance in Tucson since being shot in the head, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband retired Navy Commander Mark Kelly serve Thanksgiving dinner to 400 airmen at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. By Bryce Potter In her first public appearance in Tucson since being shot in the head, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband retired Navy Commander Mark Kelly serve Thanksgiving dinner to 400 airmen at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. By Bryce Potter
By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter
By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

TUCSON, Ariz. – In her first public appearance in Tucson since she was shot in the brain nearly 11 months ago, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, alongside her husband, served Thanksgiving dinner to about 400 airmen Thursday at Davis Monthan Air Force Base.

Her office called it "her first constituent event" since the shooting. She was joined by retired Navy Commander Mark Kelly at the event.

The airmen gathered at the Desert Inn dining facility on the base for turkey, prime rib, baked ham and all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings. It’s unclear whether the airmen knew the Congresswoman would be present in advance.

The Congresswoman is in the midst of her third trip to Tucson since the shooting but as in the previous visits, her office said she would not make any public appearances or grant any interviews. But her staff quietly notified Tucson area media outlets on Wednesday about the DMAFB event, but asked it not be made public until after 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Giffords is undergoing intensive physical therapy in Houston. She was transferred there from University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson about two weeks after the shooting.

Six people died in the shooting, including Federal District Judge John Roll, Giffords staff member Gabe Zimmerman and a 9-year old girl who came to the grocery store event at Ina and Oracle to talk with her Congresswoman. Thirteen others were injured.

Giffords has made two trips to Washington, D.C. during her treatment, two to Florida to see her husband command the space shuttle, and three to Tucson.

Giffords’ office made arrangements for a pool video and still photographers to document the event. That video should be released this afternoon.