April 2, 2011 -- Daniel Hernandez, the hero intern credited with helping to save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after the tragic shootings in Tucson, Ariz., says he has spoken with the Representative by phone, most recently on Wednesday.
"It's great hearing her voice," the Hernandez told the Arizona Republic. Out of privacy he did not comment on what was specifically said with Rep. Giffords.
"Pretty soon you will be able to ask her yourself because she's just doing extremely well and recovering very quickly," he said.
Hernandez was honored last month at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute's annual conference in Chicago for rushing to action just after Giffords was shot by Jared Loughner while meeting with constituents outside of a Safeway grocery store on Jan. 8. Six were killed in the shooting and a dozen others were injured.
"I now have a platform and I'm using that to encourage a more engaged, younger populus but also a more civilized political discourse, because that's one of the things that we lack," Hernandez said at the event.
"For too long we've been focusing on destructive political discourse instead of constructive political discourse," he added.
Kelly, an astronaut scheduled to command the next space shuttle mission in April, shared details of Giffords' progress. He said the congresswoman receives daily briefings from her staff.
"She is improving every day, and in the realm of brain injuries, that is very significant and pretty rare," Kelly said.
The astronaut also said his wife is also beginning to learn about the horrific shooting in Tucson that nearly took her life. While Giffords apparently did not remember the attack, Kelly said that she is now beginning to cope with the tragedy.
"Despite that, she remains in a very good mood," he said.
The mission commander spoke to the press with members of his crew, who are set to fly space shuttle Endeavor's final mission next month. Pending "final approval" from her doctors, Giffords plans to watch the launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Kelly said, adding that there's a "pretty good chance" it will happen.
Kelly visits his wife every morning at TIRR Memorial-Hermann rehab hospital before heading to NASA for training, and he returns to the hospital every evening when he's done.