The Challenge Coins – The New Medal of Honor

Any organization that truly takes care of their employees recognize those who put the great effort, who rise to the occasion, and who are always up to the challenge. The success of any enterprise rests on the shoulders and the will of its employees. Of course, everyone in an organization is expected to put their best in everything they are tasked to do. But in any organization, there will always be those who stand out – those who are a little hungrier and more hardworking than the rest of the crowd. They are always bankable whenever the company needs them. They are the resident go-to guys who are always willing to put much more on the line for the benefit of the organization. They are the examples, the team leaders, and they are the ones deserving of challenge coins.

challenge coinsWhat exactly are challenge coins? For the uninitiated, these are special coins given to special people within an organization. They are most common among the military ranks, the task forces, the navy, the police and the fire department – all of whom risk life and limb for the welfare and betterment of society.

The origin of these coins has varied from story to story. It is widely recognized that during the time of the Roman Empire, coins were given as rewards to soldiers to recognize their exemplary performance. The most common story, although supported by very little facts, is that challenge coins originated during World War I and were used in a way similar to that of ID cards. They were validations of one’s membership within the military ranks.

It was also during this time when the tradition of challenging (from which the coins got their namesake) was introduced. Challenges usually happen in bars or pubs. Challenging is when a member of a unit asks, or challenges fellow unit members to produce their coins. The challenger signals a challenge by taking out his/her own coin and placing it on the table, or repeatedly tapping it on the table. Everyone then must produce their coins. Those who fail to produce their coins are tasked with buying a round of drinks for the ones who have with them their coins, including the challenger. If everyone shows that they have their coins, then the challenger would have to buy a round of drinks for everyone. Challenges are thus generally seen as a tradition that fosters camaraderie among members of an organization.

challenge coinChallenge coins come in different styles, sizes, textures, colors and materials. Their design depends on the image that their respective organizations project. An organization that utilizes these coins would, of course, require a unique design exclusively for them. They need a look for their coins that acts as an extension of their personality as a whole. They need a feel for their coins that encapsulates the essence and purpose of their organization. Furthermore, coins need to feel relevant to their recipients. A trophy for a great achiever needs to have the look of great importance and the feel of a wonderful treasure.

Today, challenge coins are badges of pride and honor that validate the membership of an owner to an organization. They are often rewarded to employees in recognition of their contributions and achievements. They act as a solid proof of one’s hard work, drive and commitment to the success of an enterprise. It is a small object that carries big importance. It is a medal of recognition and a token of appreciation that enhances morale. It is a symbol of excellence which may inspire others to pour out more heart, sweat and effort for the success of an organization and its beneficiaries.