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Sep 22, 2011 2:11 PM

Congresswoman Giffords honored with multiple awards

TUCSON - Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will be honored with two prestigious awards this week. Ron Barber, Giffords' district director, will also be honored for his lifetime of public service and staff member Pam Simon will be named an "Unsung Hero" of the community.

On Thursday, Giffords will be honored with the 2011 National ATHENA Award in a ceremony in Tucson. The award is presented annually to an exceptional woman leader who demonstrates professional excellence, gives back to her community and assists other women in realizing their full leadership potential.

"Congresswoman Giffords deeply appreciates this honor," said Pia Carusone, Giffords' chief of staff. "The congresswoman considers it her responsibility to help other women excel in their chosen fields, whether it is public service, private business, the non-profit world or raising a family. We know that many young women consider the congresswoman a role model and she takes that very seriously."

On Friday, Giffords will be honored with the Franklin Award, presented by the National Conference on Citizenship. The award will be presented during the organization's 66th annual conference held in Phoenix. It is the first time the event has been held outside of Washington, D.C.

The award is named for Benjamin Franklin and honors his belief that, "To provide benefits for the common good is divine." The award is given annually to an outstanding individual in federal service who is working to strengthen citizenship in America. Previous recipients have included Justices Antonin Scalia, Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer and Sens. Robert Byrd and Lamar Alexander.

At the same event, Barber will receive one of the first three Gabe Zimmerman Awards for Public Service presented by the Center for the Future of Arizona.

Barber, who will receive the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award for Civic Engagement, joined Giffords' staff when she took office in January 2007. He is responsible for representing the congresswoman in her Southern Arizona district and advising her on district priorities and issues.

Karen Osborne, director of elections for Maricopa County, will receive the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award for Leadership. Matthew Bauer, Maricopa County's procurement supervisor for materials management, will receive the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award for Innovation.

The awards are named for Zimmerman, Giffords' director of community outreach, who was one of six people killed on Jan. 8th.

Also Friday, Simon, who works in community outreach in Giffords' Tucson office, will receive an Unsung Hero Award from the Black Woman's Task Force. The award is presented to "special people who do extra and uncommon deeds for their fellow man, those in need and those unable to do things for themselves."

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