Daniel Hernandez does a remarkable job of taking us inside that day his boss, Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot, a day none of us would hope to be inside of, ever. He recalls his specific feelings and frustrations at being at the absolute center of the event, but knowing little about its outcome. And then, in an avalanche of media attention, he describes how he undertook an overwhelming 215 interviews by the day of the memorial service in Tucson. There he met President Obama and the First Lady. There his iconic media status was cemented by that hug from the President, who said to him, moments after announcing to a cheering crowd that he had just come from Gabby Giffords’ hospital bedside, where she’d opened her eyes for the first time: “And, Daniel, I’m sorry, you may deny it, but we’ve 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.”

Thus began the journey of a young man who became an icon for so many: a gay, Hispanic student intern who ran toward danger to save a Congresswoman shot in the line of duty and ended up sitting with the First Lady at the State of the Union