Today’s Love is for Daniel Hernandez’s Quick Thinking

The heroic young activist helped save Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' life.

By Jamilah King Jan 10, 2011

It’s hard to find glimmers of hope amid Saturday’s devastating tragedy in Tuscon. But if there’s one heroic tale that deserves to be mentioned, it’s the story of Daniel Hernandez, Jr. Hernandez had been on the job as an intern for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office less than a week before Saturday’s shooting rampage. But it’s Hernandez’s quick thinking that may have helped save Giffords’ life, along with the lives of several others who lay wounded around her. Now he’s making the rounds as a media darling. The Dallas Voice explains:

According to the Arizona Republic, Hernandez was standing about 30 feet from Giffords during the "Congress on Your Corner" event outside a Safeway store near Tucson. When the gunshots began, Hernandez ran toward them and began checking the pulses of people who’d been hit. When Hernandez got to Giffords, he used his hand to apply pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap and held her upright so she wouldn’t choke on her blood.

Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure to the wound until someone brought clean smocks from the meat department of the grocery store. He stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived, then climbed into an ambulance with her. On the way to the hospital, he squeezed her hand and she squeezed back.

You can see the story told in Hernandez’s own words in the interview clip above.

Hernandez, an openly gay youth leader from Tuscon, is a third year political science major at the University of Arizona with experience in triage. Despite all the attention, he doesn’t consider himself any sort of saint. 

"People have been referring to me as a hero, I don’t think that’s something that I am," he told reporters at CNN. "I think the people who are heros are people like Gabby, who are public servants, so it makes me happy that I was able to help her in any way that I could."

Fast acting, and humble. Doesn’t get any better than that.

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