TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For those who survived the Jan. 8 shooting, life was never be the same.
KOLD News 13 spoke with some of those who were there to see how the last 10 years have been going and their hopes for the next 10.
“I was the one talking to her when the shots broke out,” said Doris Tucker.
Doris and Jim Tucker were standing on either side of Gabby Giffords when shots rang out. Jim was hit, Doris wasn’t.
The tragedy pushed their lives on a different trajectory. Jim wrote and spoke publicly about that day, but he had to give up a job and physical therapy is still a big part of his life.
While they have felt overwhelming support from most, they said one of the untold stories in their lives since is the shocking reaction they get from some.
“They’ve said, ‘well, if you were standing right next to her, why didn’t you step forward and intercept the shooter and prevent Gabby from being shot?,” Jim said.
Through those tough moments, Doris and Jim rely on their faith. They also found a new mission.
“When we are on vacation or out to eat, we meet people that have had some trauma in their lives so we’re able to kind of share experiences,” Doris said.
“I don’t believe God wastes the hurt,” Jim said. “He allows us opportunities to reach out to others.”
Another survivor, who at the time hadn’t yet started his life’s mission, said that day solidified his future in serving the Tucson community.
“I still vividly remember the first kind of shots,” said Daniel Hernandez, now a state Representative.
Hernandez was interning for Giffords that day.
“As I was running to where Gabby was, the gunman was still shooting directly into the crowd,” he said.
Since then, Hernandez has been hailed a hero for the first aid he gave to Giffords. The tragedy impacted the rest of his life.
“We’ve all taken the grief and the trauma and decided to put it to use,” he said. “For me, that was running for office.”
In the last decade, he has focused a lot on gun violence prevention and mental health.
“We need to make sure that we increase the availability of mental health help.”
As for the next 10 years, he hopes the new January 8th Memorial serves as a reminder for all Tucsonans.
Survivors of the shooting said they have become a second family in the last 10 years.
They have pot lucks together, travel together, and find a way to support each other every Jan. 8.