(JTA) — The husband of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is urging Americans to volunteer in their communities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"Many of you have asked how you can help and how you can honor the memory of those who were wounded or lost their lives," Mark Kelly, an astronaut, said in a statement distributed by the Giffords for Congress campaign. "What united the victims of the tragedy on Saturday was service — they volunteered in church or at soup kitchens, worked in government, and tended to their communities. On behalf of Gabby and our family, I ask that you consider honoring their commitment to service by dedicating a few hours on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, this Monday, January 17th, to volunteer in your community."
Giffords was sworn in to her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives just days before she and at least 16 others were shot Jan. 8 at a meet-your-lawmaker event at a Tucson shopping mall. Six people were killed in the attack. Giffords was shot in the head and critically wounded; her condition has been upgraded to serious.
Kelly also said in the statement that "The prayers and good wishes from the people of Southern Arizona and the country are deeply appreciated by our family. Your continued outpouring of support is powerful. As Gabby continues her recovery, I know she will be inspired and motivated by the heartfelt messages you have sent. Keep sending them."