POLITICS

'Hero' intern Daniel Hernandez still saving lives, writing books

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Alicia M. Cohn

The "hero" intern credited with helping save the life of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in January 2011 might need to be upgraded to superhero status: That's not the last time he saved a life.

Daniel Hernandez was eating lunch at a restaurant in Tucson early last year when his high school nursing training came in handy -- again -- to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

"I was shocked at how few people knew how to react," Hernandez told Yeas & Nays. Reacting to unexpected obstacles is a recurring theme in Hernandez's new book "They Call Me a Hero: Memoirs from My Youth," which opens with the 2011 mass shooting, or as Hernandez calls it, "the January thing" that first put him in the news.

His memoir emphasizes "finding your own path to public service," and he hopes it helps address a lack of LGBT and Latino role models in books.

Hernandez, in town last week for a book signing, once expected to take a more typical path to Washington. He began as an intern in Giffords' district office with hopes of moving into a staff assistant position in her D.C. office.

Now 23 and an elected member of a Tucson-area school board, Hernandez said he has no "grandiose plan" but hopes to stay active in Arizona politics. He thinks he'll pass on a Hill job for now, preferring the district-level ability to directly help constituents.

Hernandez admitted that as much as he loves the museums, "people watching" on the Metro, and the "amazing" brunch at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, "I think I'm much more of a visitor than a permanent resident of D.C."

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Alicia M. Cohn

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner