Randall Friese, MD, the first physician to treat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after the Jan. 8 shooting, will be the keynote speaker for the Oro Valley Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year Gala on Feb. 26.

This is the second year for the Rotary Gala, which celebrates “Service Above Self,” the motto of Rotary International. Proceeds from the event support a variety of activities, including local scholarships, local youth leadership development, literacy, local food banks and international projects to promote health, literacy, and peace.

Friese, an associate professor at the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, was catapulted to the local and national spotlights after the Jan. 8 tragedy, and has been a guest on a variety of news programs in the aftermath. On Feb. 14, he was honored by the Gold Humanism Honor Society of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which organized a National Day of Solidarity for Compassionate Patient Care for medical schools to participate in projects to demonstrate empathy and compassion in patient care.

“Dr. Friese is an outstanding example of the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self,” according to Jack Evert, chair of the Oro Valley Citizen of the Year event. “We are extremely pleased to have him as the keynote speaker for this event.”

This year’s honoree is Officer Shawn Benjamin of the Oro Valley Police Department and community resource officer at Canyon Del Oro High School. She was chosen for exemplary service to the young people of Oro Valley. According to her nominator, her service goes well beyond the expectations of her job. She works with students to prevent drug abuse and gang activity, initiated a forensic science class at CDO, and is the volunteer advisor to the Oro Valley Police Explorer Post, where young people learn about police work and perform volunteer service to the community.

Tickets for the event are available for $75 each from members of the Rotary Club of Oro Valley or through an order form on the club’s website, www.orovalleyrotary.org. The event will be held at the Oro Valley Country Club beginning at  5:30 p.m.

The Oro Valley Rotary Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. 

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