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Coins to honor graduates

May 10, 2013
<b>Chicopee high school graduates who are entering the Air Force will be receiving this coin.</b><br>Reminder Publications submitted photo

Chicopee high school graduates who are entering the Air Force will be receiving this coin.
Reminder Publications submitted photo

By G. Michael Dobbs


CHICOPEE — The graduates of Chicopee High School and Chicopee Comprehensive High School who are enlisting in the armed forces will be given a unique honor for high school students — a special coin.

On one side is the insignia for the branch of the military they are entering, while on the other is the city's crest.

Kimberly Babin, the director of the city's Department of Veterans' Services, explained to Reminder Publications there is a tradition of awarding specially minted coins called challenge coins. The coins denote the recipient had participated in a particular military action or was a member of a unit.

Babin said the coins are valued collectibles among members of the armed forces. She added the coins have been used to help identity people in times of war.

About 20 students will be receiving the coins at graduation. They have been identified through their guidance departments at the two schools and qualified by having a letter from a recruiter.

"Our Graduates to Guardians program will show people that many students who join the military do not do so because they cannot get into college, they enlist for more personal reasons such as camaraderie, a sense of commitment and a desire to defend our nation," Babin said. "The most rewarding part of our work with the program is looking into the eyes of these young people and their parents and seeing the pride that is bursting within them. We want to show our young recruits that our community supports their decision."

Babin said city veterans would participate in the awarding of the coins at the two graduations.

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