Huntington hero’s Congressional Gold Medal to be sold – WANE

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) — A Congressional Gold Medal that was awarded to a former Huntington resident will be sold at an auction this weekend in Florida.

John R. Kissinger is originally from Ohio, but he lived in Huntington for 21 years until he moved to Florida in 1943. His story is that of a hero.

Kissinger was called up for service during the Spanish-American war in 1898. After that, he re-enlisted in the regular army and worked at a hospital in Cuba.

There, he became the first soldier to voluntarily be infected with Yellow Fever by Dr. Walter Reed. That brave move nearly killed him, but he would live on and the virus would ultimately be eradicated in the western hemisphere.

In 1939, Kissinger was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. It’s the highest civilian award along with the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The only difference: Only 173 Congressional Gold Medals have ever been awarded. They’re rare.

The medal is part of Kissinger’s estate that, according to the owner of Blackwell Auctions Edwin Bailey, was sold off after Kissinger passed away in 1946, and then sold once more to its current owner.

The items will be split up and sold individually at an auction on Saturday.

Bailey said that these types of items usually draw family or descendants to the auctions to “bring the items home,” but so far he hasn’t been able to locate anyone who may come from Kissinger’s family.

Those at the Huntington County Historical Museum, where there is a large display dedicated to Kissinger, are hoping that the medal will go to someone who will use it to honor Kissinger’s brave choice.

“Wouldn’t necessarily have to be here. I would want it to be attached to him wherever that might be. If there’s, down in Florida, if they have something for him, I would be happy just so that it’s out there tp show to people, to remember what this man did,” said Kevin Bledsoe, a board member for the Huntington County Historical Society.

“A lot of people who are serious collectors of this kind of material are very generous about lending that to museums, and hopefully, this is the kind of thing that they could lend to Huntington,” Bailey said.

Of course, it’s never clear who will show up to an auction and ultimately win the bid.

More information on the auction can be found here. Bidding is available online and over the phone.