Karen Ocamb

Gay Latino Intern Credited with Helping Save Rep Giffords' Life

Filed By Karen Ocamb | January 10, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Daniel Hernandez, Gabrielle Giffords, gay heroes, latino intern, life saver

Here's an excellent example of why we need the LGBT and alternative media. John Wright at Dallas Voice notes that the young man who stuck by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords immediately after she was shot and is credited with perhaps saving her life - is a gay Latino. Mainstream media still usually considers sexual orientation and gender identity is either a matter of personal privacy or a topic for sensational scandal. As Wright points out, in this instance, it is also a cause for the entire LGBT community to feel pride.

Intern Daniel Hernandez Jr. with Rep. Giffords Photo from Hernandez's Facebook page

Here's an excerpt from Wright's report:

"Daniel Hernandez Jr., a 20-year-old University of Arizona student who'd been working as an intern for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for only five days, is being credited with saving her life after she was shot on Saturday.

Hernandez, who confirmed that he is gay in an interview with Instant Tea on Sunday morning, is a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. "She's been a great ally to the LGBT community," Hernandez said of Giffords during the brief interview across a bad connection."

Wright cites an Arizona Republic report that

"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."

From the Republic:

"The fact that Hernandez was nearby and able to react quickly probably saved Giffords' life, said state Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, and a hospital physician. He talked to Hernandez at the hospital after the shooting.

Eight hours after the shooting, Hernandez stood with Giffords' friends and staff and told them what had happened. The tall, strong 20-year-old said, "Of course you're afraid, you just kind of have to do what you can."

They hugged and thanked him. Later, he sat with his mom and sisters and told them about his friends and the staffers who had died that day.

"You just have to be calm and collected," he said. "You do no good to anyone if you have a breakdown. ... It was probably not the best idea to run toward the gunshots, but people needed help."

(Crossposted at LGBT POV)

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Thanks to Daniel Hernandez for doing what needed to be done in support of Congresswoman Giffords and our community. You represent us well!

He acted heroically and on TV he seems to be a very casual and quiet type of guy.

May the Great Spirit continue to guide you for the heroic act you did.