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Daniel Hernandez Jr.

CHCI is proud to recognize congressional intern Daniel Hernandez Jr., who was working for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and is credited with being the first person to administer aid to her, potentially saving her life during the deadly Tucson, Arizona shootings.

Hernandez, an Arizona native, is a 21-year old junior majoring in political science at the University of Arizona. He started his internship with Rep. Giffords less than a week before the shooting.

Hernandez has been involved in politics for several years. He volunteered for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and during the 2010 election cycle, worked to elect candidates to the state legislature as campaign manager for State Rep. Steve Farley. He was also appointed a director for the Arizona Students' Association. As a volunteer, he helped Rep. Giffords get re-elected in 2008.

On January 8, 2011, Hernandez arrived at the "Congress on Your Corner" event hosted by Rep. Giffords outside a local grocery store around 10:00 a.m. While signing people in to speak with the Rep. Giffords, he heard the gunman's first shots. That is when his first aid training, as part of a certified nurses' assisting program, kicked-in. Hernandez ran over to Rep. Giffords and held her hand, telling her to squeeze if she was in pain, which she did. Hernandez rode with Giffords in the ambulance and explained what was going on while trying to contact her husband Mark Kelly and her parents.

A total of 19 people were shot, six of them fatally, with one other person injured at the scene. Rep. Giffords remains in the hospital and is recovering.

Hernandez was one of the first speakers to say a few words at a local public memorial service held several days later after the shooting.

President Barack Obama was the keynote speaker. "We are grateful to Daniel Hernandez, a volunteer in Gabby's office. And Daniel, I'm sorry. You may deny it, but we have decided you are a hero, because you ran through the chaos to minister to your boss and tended to her wounds and helped keep her alive," said President Obama.

"I think if there's a takeaway from this, the first is, public service needs to become a higher priority for everyone," Hernandez says.

Daniel Hernandez Jr. was honored during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address held in January.

Past Young Leaders of Today

Daniel Hernandez Jr.
Imelda Cortez
Amy Lara
Michael Diaz
Veronica Hernandez
Armando Raul Mendez
Higinio Turrubiates, Jr.
Rachel Ruiz
Amanda Barboza
Raven Medina
Ana Rosa Martinez
Eugenia (Gina) Murillo
Jesus Alcala
Brenda Lizzet Lopez
Elena Carolina Svetlana Arciniega
Rene Octavio Valenzuela
Rosangela Serrano Morales
Danielle Alvarez
Sarah Diaz
Yaima Gonzalez
Isaac Guillermo Lara
Angie Lizeth Cruz
Veronica Pozas
Kendrys Vasquez