COAST GUARD TO HONOR TOM LEE POSTHUMOUSLY FOR
HEROIC RESCUE ON THE
Mr. Tom Lee posthumously for saving the lives of 32 people on the
The Coast Guard will present the Coast Guard Certificate of Valor to family members of Mr. Tom Lee attending the ceremony.
Mr. Lee is being recognized for his heroic deeds on the evening of May 8, 1925.
While piloting his 28-foot skiff boat, ZEV, he witnessed the sinking of a Corps of Engineers vessel,
M. E. NORMAN, with 74 persons aboard. The sinking occurred in the fast currents 16 miles south of
Mr. Tom Lee, who was alone aboard his craft, quickly navigated his skiff upstream toward the mass of drowning people.
Disregarding his own safety, cold air and water temperatures, and the river’s lethal undercurrent conditions;
he methodically made numerous trips during nighttime hours to pull victims out of the water into his skiff and took them on shore to safety.
After bringing the last person to shore, he collected wood drifting on the
and built a fire for the rescued survivors. Mr. Lee then returned to his craft and spent the night alone,
searching the river for others who might have survived. Mr. Tom Lee sacrificed his own safety so that others may
live despite physical exhaustion and the fact that he could not swim.