giffords staffer

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Giffords staffer returns to work part time

Ron Barber directs staffers in Tucson, Sierra Vista

He was wounded in the cheek and thigh

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(CNN) – Ron Barber was standing near U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when a gunman shot the congresswoman in the head at January’s meet-and-greet event in Tucson.

Six people died and 13 people were injured in the rampage, including Barber, the congresswoman’s district director. Jared Loughner is accused in the shootings.

Six months after he suffered gunshot wounds to his cheek and left thigh, Barber, 65, returned to work at Giffords’ Tucson office Tuesday and was greeted by signs, applause and hugs.

“The only thing that would be better than this day for me is for the day the congresswoman walks through the door,” Barber told CNN affiliate KVOA.

Like Giffords, the softspoken Barber continues to receive rehabilitation for the effects of his wounds. The bullet that passed through his left cheek narrowly missed his spinal column. The thigh wound hindered his ability to walk and he currently is assisted by a cane.

According to Giffords’ website, Barber, who supervises 11 employees in Tucson and Sierra Vista, will work part time until he fully recovers.

Bystander Anna Ballis is credited with saving Barber’s life by stopping the blood loss from a torn femoral artery in his leg.

Giffords’ community outreach director, Gabe Zimmerman, died in the shootings. Wounded staff member Pam Simon, shot twice, returned to work in late February.