Gay intern rushed to Giffords’ side, hailed as hero

The young Congressional intern who provided critical first aid to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head Saturday is a gay man, Daniel Hernandez Jr.

Dallas Voice, a gay news organization in Texas, broke the story, saying Hernandez confirmed to them that he is gay.

Hernandez was the subject of numerous news stories, interviews, and photos this week as news organizations reporting on the January 8 shooting that took six lives and left Giffords with a critical head wound.

Hernandez, 20, is a student at the University of Arizona but had begun work as an intern in Giffords’ Tucson office on January 3. He ran toward Giffords when the shooting broke out and, once he saw her head wound, used his hand to apply pressure to curb the bleeding and held her upright to prevent her from choking on the blood.

Hernandez told Fox News that he was signing up constituents in line to speak with Giffords during her meet-and-greet event outside a grocery store in Tucson when he heard gunshots. He said he hurried to the spot where he knew Giffords was positioned both out of concern for her safety and that of others.

Hernandez said that, during high school, he took a course to become a certified nursing assistant and had a few months experience in hospitals.

“I had basic triage and basic first aid; it was nothing that I was really prepared for,” said Hernandez.

When Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asked Hernandez what prompted him to run toward the congresswoman during a moment of such danger, when most people would have run away, he said, “I wanted to help those who had been injured, even if there was a little bit of risk. I wanted to make sure that, if I could do anything, I did.”

“You’re 20 years old. You have such composure. You’re an example for a lot of young people, Daniel, in terms of your courage, and your responsibility,” said Kelly, concluding the interview. “What’s your message for other folks out there tonight watching you thinking, ‘How can I raise a boy to be just like Daniel?’”

Hernandez said he thought viewers should understand that the real heroes are Rep. Giffords and her staff, who have dedicated their lives to helping others.

Although Hernandez was new to Giffords’ office, he said he had known her for years and had worked on her campaign for Congress. In Tucson, Hernandez serves on the city’s Commission for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transsexual Issues.

On Monday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer led a standing ovation for Hernandez during her state of the state address, crediting him with saving Giffords’ life.

John Wright, news editor of the Dallas Voice, said he started Googling for information about Hernandez after reading about his actions in an Arizona paper.

“I immediately saw that someone with that name was a member of the Tucson LGBT commission, and then I found a number on his Facebook page so I could call and confirm,” said Wright. “I was surprised I got him and the connection was pretty bad, but sure enough it was him. Then, about an hour after I posted it, our website went down….”

2 Responses to Gay intern rushed to Giffords’ side, hailed as hero

  1. Katie Murphy - ex catholic says:

    I’m just looking for someone to find a reason to demonize this man. I have seen it on other reports about the tragedy in Tucson.

    Sometimes hatred – especially religious-based hatred– knows no bounds. One would think we would have learned that lesson on 9/11, but for some people stuck in the mud of sick history, nothing gets through.

  2. StanJames says:

    Thanks Katie. summarized so well

    Religion should be a force for good in society, but it has been co-opted by people who seem to forget that Jesus commanded us to Love one another, Not hate one another.

    There are many wonderful churches- the Episcopal, UCC, Evan Lutherans, MCC, New Light presbyterians, Presbyterians USA, American baptists, and Jewish reform and some Conservatives. etc.

    if your church fails to take Jesus at his word, its time to leave, keep your money, and join a church that will guarantee your salvation. Not a church where you may be judged by the company you should not be keeping.

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