In recognition of her ongoing and inspirational comeback after a devastating event, the 2012 International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC) has created the “Gabrielle Giffords Inspiration Award.”
The award recognizes a tire dealership or tire company employee with a disability for his or her contributions to the workplace and community. It is named for former three-term Arizona Congresswoman and former independent tire dealership executive Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, who survived a shooting on Jan. 8, 2011, at a Tucson, Ariz., shopping center where she was meeting with constituents during a “Congress on Your Corner” gathering.
“I am so pleased to endorse this award that celebrates and recognizes an individual at an independent tire dealership or tire company,” Ms. Giffords said. “As a former president of El Campo Tire, the Tucson-based tire dealership founded by my grandfather, I know how important local businesses are to the growth and vibrancy of a community.”
The Gabrielle Giffords Inspiration Award will be presented on Sept. 19 during a special ceremony at ITEC, which runs Sept. 18-20 at the I-X Center in Cleveland.
“I think the entire nation was truly inspired by Congresswoman Giffords' resilience and unbridled dedication to overcoming the challenges she's faced in her recovery from that terrible day in January 2011,” said David Zielasko, editor and VP/publisher of Tire Business, which is organizing ITEC along with its Akron-based sister publication Rubber & Plastics News.
“ITEC is honored to partner with Congresswoman Giffords, a former tire dealer, to give back to the tire industry and recognize those who live and lead as fearlessly as she has,” Mr. Zielasko added.
During the 2011 public meeting with her Arizona constituents, Rep. Giffords, (D-Ariz.) was the victim of an assassination attempt and was critically injured by a gunshot wound to the head. In the incident, six people were killed, including Gabe Zimmerman, a close aide to Ms. Giffords, and Federal Judge John Roll. Thirteen others were injured.
Ms. Giffords continues to undergo intensive rehabilitation in Houston, where she has recovered her ability to walk, speak, read and write. This past January, after more than a year of rehab, she brought her final bill to a unanimous vote and resigned her congressional seat to concentrate on her recovery, though she has vowed to return to public service in the future.
“I have always strived to serve my community by giving 100 percent to every endeavor,” Ms. Giffords said, “and I enthusiastically support this award and its goal of recognizing those who inspire others through their dedication, hard work and ability to succeed without qualification.”
The Gabrielle Giffords Inspiration Award winner will receive a specially minted medal symbolizing the motivation and inspiration Ms. Giffords has demonstrated to her community and the entire nation. The winner also will receive a $5,000 award to further his or her own personal goals.
Judging of all nominations and selection of the winner will be conducted by a panel convened and under the direction of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation's largest cross-disability organization. It promotes equal opportunity, economic power, independent living and political participation for people with disabilities. Members include persons with disabilities, their families and friends.
Nominations for the award—which must be submitted by Monday, July 30—can be made at www.itec-tireshow.com, where the criteria used to select the recipient also can be viewed.
ITEC is North America's largest tire-focused trade show and educational conference, open to tire professionals from dealers and distribution channels to tire technology and manufacturing. The show offers an extensive educational program, world-class exhibit and broad networking opportunities. ITEC is organized every other year by Crain Communication Inc.'s Tire Business and Rubber & Plastics News.