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When coin collecting is really cool

Retired Mountie Gord Brennan and Orange County Sheriff Bob Peterson issued a challenge this week
Retired Mountie Gord Brennan and Orange County Sheriff Bob Peterson show off their challenge coins. - Image Credit: Carmen Weld

There were warm cookies, lots of pizza, a great cause and – two police officers making a connection.

While the focus of Dream Kids Day was to fundraise for a worthy cause, a moment was caught on camera between two men of the law.

Retired Mountie Gord Brennan approached Orange County Sheriff Bob Peterson outside Papa John’s on Wednesday.

He held out a beautifully decorated RCMP coin and asked Peterson if he had his coin on him.

To the surprise of those watching, Peterson reached into his pocket and revealed his own decorated coin.

The two men traded coins, traded contact details and shook on the transaction.

As the two police officers explained, the coins are called ‘Challenge Coins’ and mark a tradition that began in the Roman army.

“The U.S. Tradition goes back to the 1960s,” reads the card Peterson had with this Challenge Coin.

“A member of the 11th Special Forces Group (SFG) over-stamped old coins with a new emblem. The 10th SFG was the first to mint a custom coin and remained the only Army unit with its own coin until the 1980s.”

Historically the coins were given to recognize outstanding achievements, but now they are reportedly used to build unit morale and cohesion.

The challenge portion of the coin came into effect during the Vietnam War and is now part of the tradition.

In its current iteration the ‘Coin Check’ challenge states that, “a solider can be challenged to show his or her unit coin. Those who cannot have to ‘buy a round’.” Should the one challenged be able to produce their coin, the challenger must buy a round of drinks.

Given Brennan’s challenge and Peterson’s ability to produce the coin, the men explained that if Brennan and Peterson were run into each other again (not at Papa Johns), Brennan will owe Peterson a beer as he was able to produce his coin when challenged.

Peterson has been with the Orange County Sheriffs for 30 years, participating with Dreamlift for 27 years. For the last couple of years he has made the trip to the Okanagan to help with the fundraising event.