Nothing fancy, here — just the press release issued by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ office this afternoon:
U.S. REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS COMES HOME TO TUCSON FOR WEEKEND
Brief private visit follows release from Houston rehab hospital
TUCSON – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will return to her hometown of Tucson this weekend for a brief private visit with her family.
Giffords will make no public appearances and will grant no interviews during the visit, her first to Arizona since January.
“We’ve been dreaming of this trip for some time,” said Giffords’ husband, Navy Capt. Mark Kelly. “Gabby misses Tucson very much and her doctors have said that returning to her hometown could play an important role in her recovery. It is sure to be very emotional. For this reason, I hope the media understands our need for privacy.”
The much-anticipated visit follows her discharge from TIRR Memorial Hermann and the start of outpatient treatment.
“For five long months, Gabby has been living and working in the rehab facility in Houston,” Kelly said. “Now that she is an outpatient, her first priority is coming home to the place that is such a source of strength for her.”
Giffords, a third-generation Tucsonan, was flown to Houston on Jan. 21 in critical condition. She has undergone intensive rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann since Jan. 26. Giffords’ family selected that facility because it consistently has been recognized as one of the top-rated rehabilitation hospitals in the country.
Giffords will travel by private plane from Houston to Tucson on Friday with her husband and one of his two daughters. She will spend Father’s Day weekend with her family.
Over the past five months in Houston, the congresswoman frequently has expressed her desire to return home and said how much she misses Tucson. She has talked regularly with friends and visitors from Tucson and maintains a keen interest in events in her hometown.
Since arriving at TIRR, Giffords has left Houston twice. In late April, she flew to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the planned launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, commanded by Kelly, a NASA astronaut. Mechanical problems forced a launch delay and Giffords flew back to Florida two weeks later for the successful May 16 launch.
Kelly returned from a 16-day mission to the International Space Station on June 1 and was reunited with the congresswoman a day later. Giffords celebrated her 41st birthday on June 8.