Historical Highlights

The Youngest Congressional Gold Medal Recipient, 11-year-old Roland Boucher

April 23, 1941
The Youngest Congressional Gold Medal Recipient, 11-year-old Roland Boucher Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
The Montpelier residence of nine-term Representative Charles Plumley of Vermont is featured in this postcard.
On this date, Representative Robert Secrest of Ohio, chairman of the House Committee on the Library, reported favorably to the House on legislation to present a Congressional Gold Medal to 11-year-old Roland Boucher of Vermont, the youngest gold medal recipient in congressional history. On February 12, 1941, Boucher rescued five of his playmates who had fallen through the ice of Lake Champlain while ice skating, four of whom survived. In the report, Secrest described the actions of the boy, who coolly and systematically pulled each of his companions from the frozen waters with the use of his skates and jacket. The boy’s bravery made national headlines. H.R. 4250 was introduced by Representative Charles Plumley of Vermont and passed the House on May 6, 1941. During the committee debate, Plumley underscored young Boucher’s humble character. “When this boy was at Montpelier, our capital, of course, he was asked how it felt to be a hero. His response was, ‘I would rather be at home.’” President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill in January 1942. The medal falls under the category of Congressional Gold Medal, but is classified as a Congressional Life Saving Medal. The Life Saving Medals were distributed from the late-1800s to the 1950s and awarded for heroic acts, mainly involving water rescues.

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