For a case like his, you can't beat I-series savings bonds..
You can put up to $5k/year in them. Right now they are paying 1.76%. If you buy in when there is a fixed rate component you really do well, I have a few that are paying over 4% right now. You can't touch them for 1 year, and then after that if you cash them in you just lose the most recent 3 months interest. After 5 years there is no penalty.
Buy/sell them online, no paper.