Tom Lee - A Memphis Hero

Tom Lee honored by the U. S. Coast Guard

 Press Release

http://www.d8externalaffairs.com/go/doc/425/206289/

 

COAST GUARD TO HONOR TOM LEE POSTHUMOUSLY FOR

HEROIC RESCUE ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER

 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – An award ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 to nationally recognize

Mr. Tom Lee posthumously for saving the lives of 32 people on the Mississippi River. 

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 Memphis, Tenn. 

 

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 Mississippi River

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.

 


City of Memphis, Council Chambers is located at 125 North Main Street, Memphis, TN  38103.