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AZ Daily Star 11/1/11: Outdoor-focused BEYOND events to remember Jan. 8

Outdoor-focused BEYOND events to remember Jan. 8
Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star

A group founded by the family of slain congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman is planning an outdoor communitywide event to remember Jan. 8’s Tucson shootings tragedy.

The event is titled “BEYOND – commemorate * celebrate * commit” and is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2012, the first Saturday of the year. The goal is to remember a terrible event with positive action, “celebrate the place we call home, and commit to a better future,” organizers say.

It is expected to precede more somber activities that are being organized by others for Jan. 8, 2012.

BEYOND is the inaugural event for The Tucson Trails Tribute Fund, which was established by Zimmerman’s family to support a sense of community through enjoyment of the outdoors, particularly public lands.

A key theme is for residents to get out of their homes and participate in programs that promote physical and mental health, organizers say.

The vision of the day is to get the community involved in some kind of physical activity through an array of events expected to take place at more than a dozen sites from dawn till dusk. Activities will include a mountain bike ride, hikes, walks, and runs in and around the city, said Michelle Crow of The Tucson Trails Tribute Fund.

“It’s a time to take a moment to reflect and remember what we want our lives and community to be about,” she said.

Everything will take place outside. Not everything will involve strenuous physical activity. There will be meditation and a health fair with blood pressure checks. The whimsical Valley of the Moon on East Allen Road is expecting to hold an outdoor story time where Zimmerman’s favorite childhood stories will be read, as will the favorite books of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, who was the youngest victim of the Jan. 8 Tucson tragedy.

Zimmerman, who was 30 when he died, was the second-to-youngest victim of the shootings.

Six people were shot and killed that day and 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, were injured. Giffords is in North Carolina rehabilitating from a gunshot wound to the head, and has done most of her recovering out of a rehab center in Houston.

A growing coalition of local partners is coming together for the Jan. 7 event, among them Beat Cancer Boot Camp, the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation, Meet Me at Maynard’s and The Arizona Trail Association.

Tucson Medical Center has signed on as an initial sponsor, and the group organizing the event is looking for more support.

“We need to do fundraising to pull this off,” Crow said. “All funds raised will support the coalition’s activities.”

The day also will include an art component, and organizers are expecting to put out a call to artists, she added.

“The goal is to reach out to everyone who felt impacted by the tragedy.”

Organizers are hoping BEYOND will become an annual event.

For updates and more information, check the website

Money donated to the Tucson Trails Tribute Fund will support the BEYOND coalition’s work and help cover the costs associated with putting on the Jan. 7 commemorative event.

Zimmerman Memorial update

Time is running out for passage of a congressional resolution that would name a room in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center after congressional staffer Gabe Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, 30, worked in the Tucson office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He was one of the 19 people shot at a constituent gathering at a Tucson-area supermarket Jan. 8, and one of six who died that day. He is the first congressional aide ever killed in the line of duty.

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, is the latest elected official to publicly urge attention to a Capitol memorial for Zimmerman.

“I was honored to be on hand with Gabe’s family when this bill was first introduced in the same room that will be named in his honor,” Franks said in a news release Friday. “This is legislation over which all Americans can find agreement – a testament to the dedication of a young congressional staff member whose life was cut tragically short.”

With 367 co-sponsors, Franks said he sees no reason why the resolution could not be passed before the current legislative session is over, and he’d like to see “a speedy process over the next 16 legislative days, as we approach the one-year anniversary of Gabe’s untimely death.”

Arizona Daily Star

Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at or 574-4134.


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