When Daniel Hernandez began his internship for Representative Gabrielle Giffords, he had no idea what that job would really entail. Just five days into his internship, shots were fired at an event he was working leaving him to tend to the congresswoman until paramedics arrived.
A junior at the University of Arizona, Hernandez was checking people in at the “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson, Arizona where residents of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District could go to meet their congresswoman one-on-one and talk to her about any concerns they had about the federal government.
As he was checking people in, he heard gunshots from behind him. Hernandez then ran to the congresswoman and stayed with her until the paramedics arrived.
“It was probably not the best idea to run toward the gunshots, but people needed help,” Hernandez told the Arizona
Hernandez held Giffords’ head in his lap and applied pressure to her wound. While at the same time, Hernandez was advising others on how to help the other 20 people who were injured or killed in the shooting. These actions have labeled him as not only a hero in the Latino and gay community, but also a national hero.
“The stereotype of gay men being campy and flamboyant is an outdated and untruthful stereotype. Daniel Hernandez is just another example of a gay American who positively contributes to American society”, said sophomore journalism major Matt Arnstine.
Hernandez’s mother, Consuelo, is from Mexico and his father is from California. His mother came to the United States about a year before Hernandez was born in Tucson.
“I am very proud to see someone from the same ethnicity progress, succeed and be nationally recognized as a hero, especially coming from the state of Arizona, where many negative stereotypes have evolved after the Arizona law sb 1070. It allows people to grasp a different, more positive outlook on our ethnicity as a whole,” said sophomore criminal justice major Johanna Figueroa.
Both national and world leaders have honored Hernandez countless times. Hernandez sat next to Michelle Obama on the night of the State of the Union, which coincidentally was his 21st birthday.
“As someone who has a house in Arizona and is there a lot, I know Hernandez is looked at as such a hero in my comm
unity and I couldn’t even imagine being in his shoes, said junior environmental science major Rachel Abbott.