Honoring First Responders With Custom Challenge Coins

Jesse Daugherty

Jesse Daugherty

Challenge coins are a unique way to acknowledge a job well done. One of the most popular uses of custom coins around the world is to recognize police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical crews for their hard work and dedication. 

Challenge coins are small tokens of appreciation used to build camaraderie and give thanks for the long hours and loyalty. If your organization or agency wants to honor first responders, consider using challenge coins as a unique way to commemorate the dedicated men and women who help keep our cities safe.

A Look Back.

Today’s modern challenge coins were first handed out during World War I. Through the years, challenge coins have become a traditional way to award outstanding performance in the U.S. military.  While the designs have evolved, the purpose of the challenge coin has remained nearly the same, though adapted for use outside of the military. 

Police and fire departments have adopted custom coins and use them in many of the same ways that the military does, in part to the military-like hierarchy. Challenge coins began as a way for servicemen and -women to commemorate their experiences, eventually becoming keepsakes and family heirlooms. These coins marked the soldier's experiences with specific units or squads. 

Challenge coins serve the same purpose for first responders. Individual squads, precincts or departments often have their own unique coin. These coins include details such as the department logo, the detective squad, the HAZMAT team, SWAT, and other specific departments. Challenge coins are also used to honor officers, firefighters, or EMTs.  Challenge coins also are presented for excellence on the job, promotions, and the completion of special tasks. 

All members of these individual departments can have department-specific designs as well. Regardless of their design, custom coins are a morale booster for those who work in highly stressful situations.

Designing Custom Challenge Coins 

Designing unique-looking coins that will be cherished and treasured isn't tricky. With a little bit of help, it's easy to design custom coins that will honor your first responders. A good coin supplier can assist you in producing coins for any department or for any use. Create a new design or use tried and true elements such as a St. Florian’s cross.


The best part about custom challenge coins is that you are in creative control. Your coin provider should work with you to create the design that you want. An excellent place to start for a challenge coin is with the departmental symbol or logo. Use the department logo and include use details that pertain to the recipients. Your provider will work with you to create the perfect design based on your needs. 

There are plenty of custom options to choose from. Challenge coins come in a variety of finishes, such as silver, brass, copper, and black nickel. You can also opt for a polished or antiqued style coin, which will make your details stand out even more. Add color to either or both sides of your coin and make things unique.

Keep in mind that you are not limited to just round coins. Custom shapes are available, as well as other details like cutouts, engraved edge text, 3D designs, and sequential numbering. Adding custom details are sure to add value to your coin, making them perfect for displaying. 


You can even turn them into medallions. This is an excellent option for those honoring distinguished service. Any challenge coin can be turned into a custom medal, and your coin provider will add a ribbon for the award. Get creative and honor those who put their life on the line with something special.

Choosing The Right Provider

A reputable coin supplier will not only help you craft your coins, but will work with you throughout every step of the process. Choose a supplier that is experienced and knowledgeable about creating coins for public service agencies. Not everyone knows the difference between a St. Florian’s cross and a Maltese cross, for example. A good coin provider will help you create great coins for any application and within your budget. Look for a coin provider that offers free artwork and revisions. Avoid those looking to charge for these basic elements. 

Deal with someone who can ensure your coins will look exactly how you intend before production starts. Great providers will also offer free shipping within the continental United States with a solid guarantee on your purchase. 

At ChallengeCoins4Less.com, we offer precisely that. We are a one-stop supplier of remarkable challenge coins. We have been producing high-quality challenge coins for nearly 20 years. We have designed coins for fire and police departments, EMS agencies, and more, and we know what it takes to create a well-designed challenge coin. We know how much custom coins mean to their recipients. We are committed to giving you the best coins that you can buy at the best prices you will find anywhere. 

We refuse to be undersold. If you find a lower price on identical custom coins, we will match or beat it. We believe in treating our customers the way we like to be treated ourselves.  If custom challenge coins are what you need, we've got you covered. Interested in finding out more? Get a free quote on your design, or email us with any questions you have. We'd be honored to work with you!