Gabe Zimmerman Award

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Gabe Zimmerman was the community outreach director for former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and he lost his life in the Tucson shooting that killed several others and wounded many more, including Giffords. Now, the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are given each year to public servants who have worked to serve the public interest. We’ll hear from Evelyn Casuga, the chair of the Zimmerman awards, about the award winners.

TED SIMONS: THE GABE ZIMMERMAN PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS ARE NAMED IN HONOR OF AN AIDE TO FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS GABE ZIMMERMAN LOST HIS LIFE IN THE TUCSON SHOOTING THAT KILLED SEVERAL OTHERS AND WOUNDED MANY MORE INCLUDING GIFFORDS, HERE NOW IS EVELYN CASUGA, SHE CHAIRS THE AWARDS. WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON. THIS IS INTERESTING STUFF--FIRST OF ALL THE AWARD, WHEN DID THIS AWARD GET STARTED?

EVELYN CASUGA: THIS STARTED VERY SHORTLY AFTER THE INCIDENT, IN THE SPRING OF 2011, AND THE FAMILY OF GABE ZIMMERMAN APPROACHED LATTIE COOR WHO IS OUR PRESIDENT OF THE CENTER FOR THE FUTURE OF ARIZONA TO CONSIDER THIS. TO HONOR THE UNRECOGNIZED PUBLIC SERVANTS THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: REAL QUICKLY, GABE ZIMMERMAN, I KIND OF GAVE A BRIEF OVERVIEW. WHO WAS GABE ZIMMERMAN?

EVELYN CASUGA: GABE WAS THE DIRECTOR FOR COMMUNITY OUTREACH FOR CONGRESSWOMAN GIFFORDS.

TED SIMONS: YES, AND AGAIN, LOST HIS LIFE THERE AND SO WE HAVE AWARDS. WHO'S HONOR HERE, WHAT KIND OF QUALIFICATIONS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

EVELYN CASUGA: WE ARE LOOKING FOR ANY NUMBER OF QUALIFICATIONS BUT FIRST OF ALL THESE ARE FOR THE NON-ELECTED PUBLIC SERVANTS THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF ARIZONA IN DIFFERENT LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT. LOCAL GOVERNMENT, COUNTY, STATEWIDE AND LEGISLATIVE WORKERS AS WELL AND WE'VE GOT CATEGORIES, INCLUDING CIVIC LEADER WHO IS -- THESE ARE EXTRAORDINARY LEADERS, PROBABLY THE MORE SEASONED ONES WHO HAVE SPENT A LIFETIME IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE. AND EMERGING LEADERS CATEGORY AS WELL, THESE ARE THE UP-AND-COMING PUBLIC SERVANTS, WHO HAVE SHOWN A CAPACITY AND A PASSION FOR THIS TYPE OF LIFE STYLE-- THEY'RE GOING TO CHOOSE PUBLIC SERVICE AND THEN WE HAVE COMMUNITY BUILDERS, FOLKS WORKING IN THE FIELDS AS WELL. WHETHER IT'S JOB TRAINING, THAT THEY HAVE A SPECIALTY IN OR A PHILANTHROPY OR EDUCATIONAL ADVANCEMENT. THESE ARE FOLKS ARE THE LOCAL LEVEL.

TED SIMONS: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE CIVIC LEADER FIRST. THE WINNER WAS TOM MANOS, RETIRED MARICOPA COUNTY MANAGER. TALK TO US ABOUT TOM.

EVELYN CASUGA: TOM WAS AN AMAZING PUBLIC SERVANT, SPENT OVER 30 YEARS. THEY HAD LOCAL GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS STATE GOVERNMENT AND SERVED TWO YEARS IN THE PEACE CORPS IN LIBERIA, AFRICA, AS WELL. AND THE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE THOMAS WE WERE REVIEWING HIS APPLICATION, INCLUDES HUMILITY, GROUNDED, LEADERSHIP AND CONSENSUS BUILDER.

TED SIMONS: LET'S GO TO THE EMERGING LEADER, THESE ARE FOLKS UNDER 40 YEARS OF AGE. CORRECT?
EVELYN CASUGA: YES, CORRECT.
TED SIMONS: WHO IS OUR WINNER HERE?
EVELYN CASUGA: ANDRESS CANO WHO IS THE-- ANDRESS HIS ROLE IS THE SPECIAL STAFF ASSISTANT -- TO PIMA COUNTY SUPERVISOR RICHARD ELIAS.

TED SIMONS: HE WAS HONORED BECAUSE?

EVELYN CASUGA: HE WAS HONORED FOR BEING A YOUNG MAN AND CHOOSING PUBLIC SERVICES CAREER PATH. HE ALREADY SHOWN SKILL AND PASSION FOR CONNECTING COMMUNITY, THE WORDS THEY USED IN HIS APPLICATION INCLUDED NOT JUST BECAUSE HE WANTS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE BUT HOW CAN WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER?

TED SIMONS: SOUNDS LIKE A TIRELESS PUBLIC SERVANT IS ANOTHER REQUIREMENT HERE.

EVELYN CASUGA: INDEED, FOR ALL OF THEM. ALL OF THE NOMINEES.

TED SIMONS: COMMUNITY BUILDING, THIS IS ADVANCING COMMUNITY PRIDE AND OTHER THINGS, IT'S INTERESTING, WE HAVE A WINNER FROM COCONINO. CORRECT?

EVELYN CASUGA: YES, JANET REGNER WHO IS THE COMMUNITY SERVICE DIRECTOR FOR COCONINO COUNTY, JANET HAS BEEN AROUND ARIZONA, WORKING IN LOCAL, TRIBAL, STATE GOVERNMENT, PRIVATE SECTOR WITH NONPROFITS AND SHE'S DEVOTED HER LIFE TO HUMAN SERVICE AND THE HEALTH OF FAMILIES HAS BEEN A BIG PASSION FOR HER.

TED SIMONS: AND NEXT -- IT'S TWO HONOREES HERE. CORRECT? DOWN IN YUMA, FLAGSTAFF TO YUMA.

EVELYN CASUGA: WE'RE MAKING SURE WE'RE COVERING THE ENTIRE STATE OF ARIZONA, THERE'S REPRESENTATION AND GREG WILKINSON WHO IS THE CURRENT CITY ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE CITY OF YUMA, AFTER HE RETIRED, AFTER 2000, HE WAS IN THE MARINES, SO HE'S ALREADY SERVED IN PUBLIC SERVICE IN A VERY BIG WAY.

TED SIMONS: WOW! NO KIDDING. AND THE COMMUNITY BUILDERS, JOB CREATION AND HISTORICAL PRESERVATION, A LOT GOING ON THERE--ISN'T THERE?

EVELYN CASUGA: YES, A LOT OF OUR COMMUNITIES AND ESPECIALLY OUR SMALLER COMMUNITIES, YOU END UP DOING IT ALL OF IT ANYWAY IN. GREG'S CASE, CONSENSUS BUILDER, HE CAME ON AS CITY ADMINISTRATOR AFTER THE RECESSION HIT AND THE CITY OF YUMA, LIKE OTHER MUNICIPALITIES AND OTHER PUBLIC SECTOR AREAS AND PRIVATE SECTOR WERE GOING THROUGH CHALLENGING TIMES BUT GREG WAS ABLE TO CUT THE BUDGET, MAKE WHATEVER MOVES HE HAD TO MAKE WITHOUT ANY LAYOFFS AND YUMA IS JUST A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK.

TED SIMONS: WHO CHOSE THE HONOREES? HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?

EVELYN CASUGA: WE HAVE A NUMBER OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS WHICH I CAN NAME THEM BUT GENERALLY, IT'S A STATEWIDE REPRESENTATION REPRESENTING DIFFERENT SECTORS OF ARIZONA. BOTH PUBLIC, PRIVATE AND NONPROFIT AS WELL AS THE BUSINESS SECTOR.

TED SIMONS: WAS THERE A PARING DOWN, A CERTAIN NUMBER AND THEN A CERTAIN NUMBER AND THEN A CERTAIN NUMBER?

EVELYN CASUGA: YES, EVERYONE HAD HOMEWORK TO DO IN REVIEWING THE APPLICATIONS, EVERY YEAR WE GET SO MANY QUALIFIED PEOPLE APPLYING OR EITHER SELF- SELECTING OR ALSO BEING NOMINATED AND IT'S TOUGH, IT'S TOUGH. BUT EVERYONE GOES TO THEIR CORNERS AND READS THE APPLICATIONS AND WE HAVE A CONSENSUS BUILDING MEETING. TO TRY AND FIND AND SOMETIMES IT WILL LAST LONGER THAN OTHER TIMES OVER THE YEARS.

TED SIMONS: BEFORE YOU GO, THE CENTER FOR THE FUTURE OF ARIZONA, THIS IS YOUR BABY HERE, THIS AWARD. WHAT'S THE CENTER FOR THE FUTURE OF ARIZONA?

EVELYN CASUGA: THE CENTER FOR THE FUTURE OF ARIZONA WHOSE MISSION IS TO FIND AND SHAPE AND IMPROVE ARIZONA FOR THE FUTURE AND LADDIE, THE FOUNDER OF THIS ORGANIZATION HAS BEEN PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS NOT IN HIS PREVIOUS LIFE BUT THROUGH THE CENTER AND DEFINING ARIZONA AND MAKING IT BETTER FOR EVERYONE.

TED SIMONS: WE'VE HAD LADDIE ON NUMEROUS TIMES HERE AND CONGRATULATIONS ON THE AWARDS, DESERVING HONOREES ALL. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

EVELYN CASUGA: THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: TUESDAY ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," HEAR ABOUT A NEW TEST TO HELP IDENTIFY ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT BACTERIA AND GET A BEHIND SCENE LOOK ON HOW MUSEUM EMPLOYEES PUT TOGETHER A EXHIBIT. THAT'S ON THE NEXT "ARIZONA HORIZON." THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING! CLOSED CAPTION PRODUCTIONS WWW.CCPRODUCTIONS.COM 844-335-0911

Evelyn Casuga: The Chair of the Zimmerman Awards

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