Recognizing the achievements of public servants

Posted on April 10, 2018 • Category: Uncategorised

Every day throughout our state, public servants are exemplifying the impact that dedicated and talented people have connecting communities and engaging citizens.  Too often their small acts of heroism, sacrifice, and commitment go unnoticed and unrecognized. They are our public problem-solvers and help our communities run smoothly.

Driven by the belief that these public servants are truly helping to build the Arizona We Want, a shared vision of success for our state, the Center for the Future of Arizona recognizes these leaders annually through the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award. With the support of his family, it is named in honor of Gabe who lost his life on January 8, 2011 while serving the citizens of Arizona at a “Congress on your Corner” constituent event for then Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

In his role as Director of Community Outreach for the Congresswoman, Gabe embodied what it means to be a public servant.

Emboldened by his education as a social worker, Gabe tied his interest in policy and serving others, and testament to his life, his name adorns two other markers. A room at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. where people go to meet, gather, and engage in their democracy, also bears his name. As does a trailhead in Tucson where people come together for recreation.

How fitting that those spaces carry on these sacred traditions of connection to our communities and our democracy.

I fortunately had the opportunity to experience Gabe’s infectious and selfless service activities. We canvassed neighborhoods for causes and people we care about in the rolling foothills of Northwest Tucson. Him on his bike, me not too far behind. 

Now, I have the opportunity to work for the Center for the Future of Arizona, managing our civic health initiatives, ensuring other Arizonans have the same opportunities to give back to their communities. I have the opportunity to work alongside incredible civic leaders across our state who help carry on Gabe’s legacy—like Evelyn Casuga .

Evelyn served her community as town manager for Marana from 1989-1990, the same town where I was born and raised. I’ve infused the work ethic and public service I learned there from my family, teachers, and community leaders into my own civic engagement journey and commitment to building a stronger Arizona.  People coming together to collectively shape the future is something we saw in Marana, and it’s something we see throughout Arizona.

Now Evelyn and I, through our work with CFA, can recognize Arizonans working to continue Gabe’s legacy. We invite Arizonans to nominate a non-elected public servant that inspires them by going to

CFA Perspective Categories

CFA Perspective Archives