LAMAR, Mo. — Challenge coins are often used to help celebrate the unity in organizations like the police, military and even secret service. But they can commemorate other events as well.

Rusty Rives, Lamar Asst. City Administrator, said, “Typically challenge coins in modern era are used by military and different forms of service and police departments and they’re used to show comradery and fellowship and involvement in a particular group.”

Challenge coins have become common in several forms of service, but these shiny medallions actually have a rich history which dates back hundreds of years.

“So you can find them all the way back to about the Roman empire and they would give their soldiers these coins to show they were part of the Roman government.”

Now, organizations like the police use them to symbolize the connection their team shares. But there’s more, since the coins have become so popular, many have been created to celebrate situations outside the police.

“Like the Missouri state Highway patrol, Kansas City PD, St. Louis Metro PD, they all produce special coins when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl and the Blues won the Stanley cup. Harrisonville does a great program where they use the coins for their shop with a cop program and sell them as programs.”

Citizens in the community can even be awarded challenge coins in specific situations. While it’s popular to get them from a fundraiser or as a gift, challenge coins are awarded to people in celebration for how they help the police.

Randee Kaiser, Jasper County Sheriff, said, “Quick actions with some activities that they saw that they thought looked suspicious and so they called the law enforcement and we were able to make a big drug bust based on the information that they gave us.”

Creating bonds which exist not only in the service force, but in the community as well.

“It’s kinda cool because its a reminder of places that you’ve been and people that you’ve met.”