Move over Springsteen, there’s a new boss in town. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was named one of Esquire magazine’s Americans of the Year in its December issue, joining the legendary New Jersey singer and a host of other celebrities that include tennis star Serena Williams and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts.

The story—which I penned for the magazine—celebrates Hickenlooper for his steadiness during two state tragedies this past year: the Aurora theater shootings and the wildfires near Colorado Springs. From my interviews with the governor, it’s clear the shootings—and his private discussions with victims and their families—touched him deeply. “I felt, in some deep way, privileged and blessed to be a part of their lives,” he told me. “You feel this incredible, intense connection…. I didn’t feel paralyzed. In a funny way, I almost felt released.”

The Americans issue is on newsstands now. For more on Hickenlooper, read Max Potter’s 5280 profile of him here.