What is a Challenge Coin?
A Challenge Coin is a small coin or medallion that bear’s an organization’s insignia or emblem, and is often carried by the organization’s members. Traditionally, they are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. They are also commonly collected by members.
Origins of Challenge Coins
There are several stories detailing the origins of the challenge coin. One is that the Roman Empire rewarded soldiers to recognize their achievements; another is a story of an American Pilot in WWI that was stuck behind enemy lines & had no identification beside a challenge coin, he was captured by the French & believed to be a saboteur, the squadron insignia on the challenge coin was recognized by his capturers, they further verified his identity which prevented his execution.
The tradition of a challenge is the most common way to ensure that members are carrying their unit’s coin. The rules of a challenge are not always formalized for a unit, and may vary between organizations.
The challenge, which can be made at any time, begins with the challenger drawing his/her coin, and slapping or placing the coin on the table or bar. Everyone being challenged must immediately produce the coin for their organization and anyone failing to do so must buy a round of drinks for the challenger and everyone else who has their challenge coin. However, should everyone challenged be able to produce their coin, the challenger must buy a round of drinks for the group
Why Challenge Coins?
The Edmonton Local Executive received funds from a previous grievance filed by HSAA years ago regarding the previous River Cree station, these funds turned out to be significantly less than originally thought, just over $3000. Unfortunately, there were no records regarding who, when, and how long anyone stayed at the River Cree station to determine how compensation should be divided, as well there has been significant staff turn over.
The Local Executive decided that it would be best to look at creating something that could self-fund the creation of recognition pieces such as Years of Service Bars and Retirement Gifts, and that Challenge Coins could likely work towards that goal.