Tuesday, August 30, 2011

1953 Fire Rescue Remembered

Vermont's Burlington Free Press reports that sixty years after she received the Bronze Cross Lifesaving Award for rescuing her three siblings from a fire, the Girl Scouts gave Lessie Dunham-Reiman a replacement medal, on learning that she had lost the original.

"It's been a long time since I've worn it," said Dunham-Reiman, after Girl Scouts representative Terri L'Esperance pinned the bronze cross with red ribbon to the Williston resident's blouse.

In 1953, the 11-year-old Girl Scout was babysitting her siblings when a fire broke out in the family's Burlington apartment above Colodny's store. Dunham-Reiman immediately sounded the alarm and rescued each of her siblings. Finding the stairway engulfed in flames, she took them to a second floor window and kicked out the glass so they had air to breath, before handing them one by one to a fireman to carry down to safety.

The Bronze Cross Lifesaving Award is given to Girl Scouts who have saved a human life at risk to their own lives. It is the highest award for valor in Girl Scouting and rarely given. L'Esperance said that in the past four years, none had been awarded in the Green and White Mountain Region.