At the center of the entire Giffords operation is her 30-year-old chief of staff, Pia Carusone, who has been running Giffords’s Tucson and Washington offices from spartan side rooms at Houston’s TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital with her BlackBerry, a Mac computer and a tiny, 3-by-5-inch reporter’s notebook containing four weeks’ worth of daily to-do lists. She cadged the notebook from an FBI agent in Arizona when she realized she needed to keep track of all her tasks.
What’s most remarkable about Carusone’s uncommon resolve and dedication to service is how common those traits are in Giffords’s world.
[Staff member Gabe] Zimmerman [who died in the shooting], for example, shared Giffords's passion for public service, his colleagues say, setting the example for how to close cases for constituents who needed help navigating a bureaucracy.
"He was everything you could want in a supervisor, friend, and congressional staffer. Kind, smart, thoughtful, thorough and so many more wonderful attributes. A beautiful man," said Amanda Sapir, a case worker in Giffords’ office. "We all continue a deep commitment to helping people in his honor and to fulfill the Congresswoman’s charge to care for one another and help as many of her constituents as possible."
By the morning of Jan. 10, the district office in a small complex here was open for business.
“Of course,” office manager Joni Jones said in an interview in a district office conference room Tuesday, “Gabby would want us to open.”