My First of Many Great Challenge Coins

I received my first of many great challenge coins at my first unit. There is one day during my time in the military that I will never forget. I was working hard to clean my assigned area at the base. As I was scrubbing off the dirt from the day, my Commanding Officer approached. He placed in my hand my first custom challenge coin, looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and walked off. There was no big ceremony, no applause, and no band playing, but it was one moment in my military career that symbolized all of my effort and hard work. Even though it was almost 11 years ago, the firm handshake communicated a level of respect and honor that meant more to me than almost any previous moment. Receiving that first great challenge coin really was the start of my fascination and eventual strive to produce great challenge coins for others.

How I got Involved

Jimmy Fallon Challenge Coin

Over the years, I got involved in various businesses and always tried to continue to bring the old traditions with me everywhere I went. Even though I have been involved with businesses since the age of 15, my goal with each one was to make something that would improve the lives of others. Some of these businesses took off and Embleholics and our challenge coins even got me on The Tonight’s Show. Most of my success comes from the lessons I learned at the military and specifically that moment of receiving my challenge coin. This moment would be particularly important for the business I have now.

Years went by, and I collected an assortment of custom challenge coins. These coins mean so much, yet the problem I saw from many challenge coin manufactures is that they didn’t put nearly as much care, effort, and quality into each and every coin. They didn’t understand how symbolic the coins were, and that came through in each final product. I couldn’t help but think of my own moment with each new coin I received. I felt that this was a disservice to both the person receiving the coin and also the history of the coins when they were not made with the highest quality and care. My time throughout the military taught me the importance of details, and I wanted coins that reflected these values. The impact on my life from receiving that coin is the main reason I started my business and my drive to make great challenge coins for our customers. I set out to make sure the coins were of the highest quality so they would match the importance and symbolism of the moment.

challenge coin pilot

The History of Great Challenge Coins

While there is some history of custom challenge coins being created during the Roman Empire, they became a mark of honor in America mainly during World War I. A young pilot had a medallion in a pouch around his neck that kept him alive. He had landed in German territory and was taken as a prisoner. He escaped during a bombing and the only thing he had on his body was his medallion. The French were prepared to execute him, except one soldier recognized the insignia on it, so the execution was called off. Essentially, the coin he had changed his life. Quickly after, many more squads chose to carry coins as a sign of recognition and honor. There are also stories during World War II for soldiers to ask to see a medallion to confirm the identity of the person they were talking to. Soldiers realized that people could easily lie about their identity, but it would be much harder to fake a particular coin.

What Great Challenge Coins are Today

While challenge coins are huge in the military, they are now also used for other branches, firefighters, law enforcement, along with various awards, groups, and gifts. Each coin represents an achievement, a sign of respect, or a symbolic badge of honor. This is why I felt it was so important to make high quality coins, because these are not small moments in someone’s life. The true heart of my challenge coin company, Embleholics, is based on honoring the importance of the moment and the traditions that come with it. I wanted a business that also reflected the values I learned from the military. I wanted a business that cared about each individual customer, focused on being efficient, produced high quality results, and also continues to give back. Embleholics gives back to both the USO and, which supports military, veterans, and their families. This makes us not only a great challenge coin manufacture but a great business.

USS Nimitz Challenge Coin

 Embleholics’ Mission Statement

My goal in creating Embleholics was to create a business that had the same attention to detail and high quality that my custom coins have. I didn’t just want a high quality product, I wanted a high quality business as well. Each of our custom challenge coin has the potential to impact others lives just like my first coin did for me. This is why my customers stay with my business: you can’t compete with the heart and soul I put into each and every coin. I believe the true heart of a business owner is willing to learn and put their heart into the product, the business, the customers, and the employees. I maintain this standard for myself every single day. Honor and traditions aren’t just important for the military, they are also important for our every day life. A tradition such as a challenge coin should be continued, because big events deserve to be celebrated and always remembered. After Embleholics was founded in 2014, I focused on connecting with businesses and military members that felt the same root of honor and traditions as I did.

The Challenge Coin Tradition Continued

I have always felt that traditions are an important part of not only business but also life. Great traditions in my mind include the handshake, staying true to your word, and producing quality work. These were the same traditions I made sure to bring to every aspect of Embleholics and our custom challenge coins.


You can read more about Lee Adams and Embleholics mission to its customers and partners here.