Giffords Had Decided 'Life Was About Service'
Arizona rep like to ride her motorcycle without a helmet
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2011 8:24 AM CST
A screenshot of Giffords' Twitter page, asking constituents to come out to the event where she was shot.   (
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(Newser) – Gabrielle Giffords may just beat the odds and add gunshot survivor to a hefty and varied resume that includes gun rights advocate, motorcycle and equestrian enthusiast, health care champion, astronaut's wife, French horn player, and Democrats' rising star in a Republican district. The New York Times profiles the Arizona rep, whose passion and independence runs as deep as the respect and affection she seems to engender in those she meets. "She had sort of made an existential decision that life was about helping other people, that life was about public service, and she was going to arrange her life around that idea,” says a friend.

A lost mayor recalls wandering in the snow when Giffords "grabbed me, despite the fact she was going to her office, and took me across the street to where I needed to go." Says a Republican whom Giffords once turned out of office: "Let’s put it this way: you’ve got to be a pretty kind person if the person you once ran against and beat is as emotionally distraught as I am now.” Click to read about her intern of five days who held a bleeding Giffords until paramedics arrived.