(from left) Bill Badger, Patricia Maisch, Roger Salzgeber the night before Endeavour launched.
THE GOOD GUYS got their first break January Eight in that Tucson Arizona Safeway parking lot when the deranged gunman aimed at Col. Bill Badger’s head and missed. Bill ducked and felt the bullet graze the top of his head as his blood began to flow, Bill and Roger Salzgeber heroically charged the gunman tackling him to the ground and giving Patricia Maisch the opportunity to grab the fresh clip from the struggling gunman hands. Ending the mass murder of six persons and the wounding of 13 others, including Tucson Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords. Patricia Maisch says she’s an ordinary person who did nothing more than what anyone else in her position would have done–had they been there. That may be, but I know when I first read of this trio’s deeds I know I got that chill in my spine that I reserve for heroic acts and big doins and I know truly in my heart they are my heroes. Since that day, they have been written about, quoted and ask to comment. They have struggled to return to way things were. For some the spotlight is too bright. Daniel Hernandez, the Gifford’s Volunteer who exposed himself to gunfire giving first aid to the Congresswomen, he was introduced to the nation by President Obama, lent his support to change gun laws has now sought to return to his studies, struggling to be ordinary again. Still others hope interest will fade but Gifford staff member Mark Kimble, sends out an hundreds of updates daily, and fields more than 200 emails a day asking about the Congresswomen recovery. Time Magazine named Giffords “One of a Hundred of the Most Influential People in the World Today”, while in a Houston hospital recovering from her wounds. The Trio was honored by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in April awarding each Badger, Maisch, Salzgeber the Department’s Citizen’s Medal presented by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.
FOUR MONTHS AFTER ALL THIS STARTED…. these folks have worked to make something good and positive come from this common experience and that has drawn everyone every close particularly Badger, Salzgeber and Maisch to each other, as well as, with the Giffords staff themselves. So when Commander Mark Kelly’s Shuttle launch was scheduled the Giffords staff was able to obtain credentials for the Tucson trio to view the launch from the congressional viewing area. Badger, Salzgeber and Maisch agree a real hero Is someone who blasts himself into space with little regard for their own safety for love of country, much like Commander MARK KELLY and the crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour, named after Captain Cook’s ship that sailed first around the world, another heroic journey. But Endeavour’s Launch represented something else for Tucson, news was Gabby would watch the launch and her doctors thought her well enough to travel to see ENDEAVOUR launch into space to visit the International Space Station and return, heroes indeed. The United States needs heroes-so when Gabrielle Giffords watches the golden glow of Endeavour punching through the low hanging clouds and hoots “Good Stuff”, it is good stuff indeed and everyone deserves to get that tingle in their spine that tells us heroes are amongst us and “good stuff” is goin on…
GOD SPEED, GABBY ! GOD SPEED, ENDEAVOUR !!!
Patricia Maisch and Bill Badger with wife Sally meet Mike Collins, one of a few astronauts who left sub-orbit. in 1969 Collins flew APOLLO 11 into lunar orbit in the Command Module Columbia and patiently circled while Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin went to the surface in the Lunar Module Eagle. After a day on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility. Buzz and Neil rendezvoused with Collins and he took them back home to Earth. His instructions were to return with or without the lander crew.LIFTOFF ! SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR’S LAST WORLD TOUR photo is the NASA official portrait of the crew members of STS-134. The crew members are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori. All mission specialists. Heroes one and all…NASA PHOTO