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Daniel Hernandez, photo by J. Scott Applewhite
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Honoring Christina-Taylor Green and Daniel Hernandez, Jr.

Building something positive out of the tragedy from January 8, 2011

The tragedy in Tucson on Jan. 8 ripped a hole in the psyche of Tucson and, indeed, the country. People were compelled to do something — anything — to help and to heal. People held vigils and prayer meetings. Flowers and teddy bears adorned the Safeway store where the tragedy occurred and the hospital where the survivors were recovering. People from all over the world sent the Green family cards to let them know that they also mourned the loss of Christina-Taylor.

One effort to build something positive out of the tragedy started with Phil and Carol Lyons. The Lyonses contacted SBS and asked the College to establish a scholarship in the School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP) in the names of Christina-Taylor Green, who died in the shooting, and Daniel Hernandez, Jr., an SGPP student whose bravery helped save U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life.

The Lyonses have agreed to donate to the scholarship through a separate fund they established at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona in the names of Christina-Taylor and Daniel.

“Here’s a young man who had been interning with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords only five days and he put his life at risk to save her,” Phil Lyons said of Hernandez. “And the idea of a young girl losing her life just added to the sadness and tragedy of the entire situation.”

Providing this scholarship support is important to the philanthropic couple.
“I’m a huge believer in equality of opportunity,” Phil Lyons said. “I like the idea of doing something tangible that will affect, hopefully, a lot of lives.”

Born on Sept. 11, 2001, Christina-Taylor had shown an interest in civics and government from an early age. She had recently been elected to the student council at her elementary school and attended Giffords’ “Congress on Your Corner” event to learn more about the political process.

Hernandez, 20, ran toward the gunfire to stay with Giffords and administer first aid. Hernandez has publicly stated since the tragedy that he thinks the “real heroes” are public servants like Giffords — people who dedicate their lives to helping others.

Due to both young people’s interest in government and the fact that Hernandez is a UA political science major, Phil Lyons thought donating to an SGPP scholarship would be a fitting way to honor them.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate way to recognize two young people who have both moved us and inspired us,” agreed Brint Milward, SGPP director. “This scholarship will help many people who wish to go into public service.”
You can donate to the scholarship fund online at: For more information, please contact Ginny Healy at 520-621-3938 or

For more information, contact Lori Harwood at 520-626-3846 • Editor