Posted: Nov 13, 2012 4:51 PM by KBZK Media Center
Updated: Nov 13, 2012 4:58 PM
BOZEMAN - Gloria Giffords, the mother of Arizona Congresswoman Gabriel "Gabby" Giffords, will be the honored guest at this year's 15th annual Liberty Place Festival of Trees Nov. 15 at the Best Western Grantree Inn.
The idea of having Gloria's daughter, Gabby, speak at the annual festival was suggest by board member April Buonamici at their annual retreat earlier this year in Bozeman. Understanding that such a notion wouldn't probably be realistic, April (Buonamici) decided to go ahead and contact the Congresswoman to just see what her response would be. Although Gabby is unable to attend, the board was overjoyed to learn that her mother would be happy to accept the invitation to speak.
"I am very excited to have Mrs. Giffords at this year's Festival of Trees", said Ann Geiger, executive director of Liberty Place. "She understands the pain that a parent experiences when their child's life is forever changed by a tragic and unexpected event. She does not dwell on what her daughter has lost, however. Her message will be one of hope and encouragement."
"When Arpil (Buonamici) mused about having Gabby Giffords as the honored guest, we all thought, ‘Yeah, right," Geiger said. "So when she told me that Gloria had accepted the invitation, I said, "I guess I need to remember: never doubt the possibilities." So that became the theme of this year's event."
Mrs. Giffords first heard the news about the shooting from her son-in-law, Mark Kelly, on Jan 8, 2011 according to an article written in Tucson's "Arizona Daily Star". Kelly had called her cell phone and gave her the few details he had about the shooting involving her daughter. A shocked and confused Giffords then got into a strangers car, mistaking it for her own, after leaving a UPS store where she'd gone to mail a package.
"Once I got into my car- my own gray car, the right car- I shut the door and I heard something. I heard, ‘Be still and know that I am God'. "This thing came over me, like a warmth, like a blanket, and I wasn't afraid. I thought, wherever she is, she's intact, she's perfect, she's whole, and whether on this plane of reality or somewhere else, she's God's perfect child." Gloria told the Daily Star.
Gloria says she has always considered Jan. 8 a bump in the road. "You get over the bump and you move forward. Always looking forward, no looking back. No regrets." Gloria said. From that day Gloria arrived at the hospital to comfort Gabby from bullet wound that penetrated her left side of the brain, she has been at her side ever since.
"I am honored to have been asked to attend this year's Liberty Place Festival of Trees and am looking forward to sharing the message of hope that nothing is impossible...it just might take a little longer," Gloria said in an email to the Ledger, Whitehall's news publication where Liberty Place is located.
The Festival of Trees annual event is a major fundraiser for Liberty Place, Inc. located in Whitehall. It has two facilities and corporate office there. Liberty Place provides care and rehabilitation opportunities for survivors of acquired brain injuries.
This year's event will prove to be no less exciting and fun as all past events have been. Guests are treated to a three-course meal, silent auction as well as the beautiful main event- live auction for decorated Christmas trees that will be surrounding the banquet room. Live music will also be provided by local area talent.
For more information on the Festival of Trees or to purchase tickets, please call Festival of Trees Committee Chair April Buonamici at 406-599-5398 or 406-451-6388 or email Ann Geiger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets to this year's event are $40 apiece. Guests can also purchase a table for eight guests at a cost of $300.
In addition to the Festival of Trees event, Liberty Place will be hosting a special concert on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the GranTree Ballroom. "Notes of Comfort", a Bozeman High group, will perform. Proceeds from the concert will benefit three local non-profits: "Notes of Comfort", Junior Achievement and Liberty Place. Tickets to this event are $10