Helmke credits Brady with good attitude, perseverance

FILE - This Feb. 11, 2000 file photo shows former White House press secretary for President Reagan James Brady, left, in a group photo following a dedication ceremony for the new James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. From left are, Brady, presidential press secretaries Joe Lockhart (Clinton), Jerald terHorst (Ford), Larry Speakes (Reagan), Mike McCurry (Clinton) and Pierre Salinger (Kennedy). A Brady family spokeswoman says Brady has died at 73. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh/File)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- In the wake of the death of James Brady, the former White House press secretary under President Reagan, a prominent Fort Wayne gun control advocate spoke about Brady’s legacy with NewsChannel 15 Tuesday.

Brady was shot in 1981 during the assassination attempt on President Reagan. The shooting left Brady in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and his family said his death Monday was tied to his injuries from the shooting.

Paul Helmke, the former Fort Wayne mayor, worked with Brady when Helmke served as president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence from 2006 to 2011.

Helmke said Brady -who became a vocal proponent of stronger gun laws and was instrumental in passing the Brady Handgun Act requiring background checks on people who buy handguns- showed perseverance despite the rough hand life dealt him.

“Jim Brady is really somebody that this community and this country should appreciate,” said Helmke. “He showed what an individual can do. He showed the importance of keeping a good attitude, showed that you can make life better even [when] fighting through your own tragedies.”

Helmke added that even though Brady and his wife made a significant difference, he believes there is still a lot of work to be done to prevent gun violence.

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