A Coin to Honor Our Troops

By Sharon Taylor Conway
Photograph by Craig Coleman

A Scout pays tribute to hospitalized armed services personnel by presenting them with a specially created coin.

Dr. Tom Davis, center, watches as his son, Paul, presents a soldier at Walter Reed hospital with one of his specially created "Coins of Honor."

When most 13-year-old boys are in front of the TV playing video games or in the backyard hanging out with their friends, Paul Davis was thinking of ways to honor wounded veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq for their wartime sacrifice.

The Scout, a member of Troop 1257 (chartered to Church of the Epiphany, Oak Hill, Va.), created a ‘‘Coin of Honor” and presented it to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center during ceremonies last summer.

‘‘On behalf of myself, Boy Scouts of America Troop 1257, the Boy Scouts of America, and the citizens of our great country, please accept this special, symbolic ‘Coin of Honor’ that I developed as a small token of gratitude for your personal sacrifice, courage, and service to our country,” Paul said as he awarded the coin to soldiers.

‘‘We shall never forget your bravery and selfless sacrifice. Today and every day, our prayers are with you,” he added.

The 13-year-old Life Scout raised more than $6,000 in donations to design, produce, and distribute the 1,000 coins to armed forces personnel hospitalized at Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

‘‘It’s pretty cool,” declared Capt. Cathy Carman of Chosen Battery after receiving her coin, ‘‘to think that a 13-year-old thinks about doing something like this and speaks before a group of more than 100 people.

“It’s a really good project, and coins are not cheap. Thanks a lot!”

‘‘The coin is a symbol of long-standing tradition in the military,” explained Lt. Col. Alex Stojadinovic, who served as Paul’s mentor for the project. ‘‘Commanders have created special coins which they give out to those under their leadership for excellence, achievement, and heroism.”

Stojadinovic added, ‘‘It’s touching to see this degree of patriotism, to take a theme that we all relate to, to express his [Paul’s] gratitude and commitment. The coin is something that our warriors will be able to carry with them always, in their pockets.”

The coin was developed as part of Paul’s Eagle Scout service project.

Leading a group of five other Scouts in his troop—Alan Davis, Tyler Ward, Stephen Emerick, Ray Daniels, and Ryan Kiel—Paul oversaw the design, development, and distribution of the two-inch, antique brass-plated coin. The words, ‘‘Duty To God, Country And Others,” are emblazed on the front of the diamond-edged coin.

Dr. Tom Davis, an assistant Scoutmaster and Paul’s father, said, ‘‘I’m very proud and honored that he did this. This is a special project that will touch a lot of people.

“Fifty years from now these soldiers will be able to show their grandkids this symbol [the coin] of their selfless service and personal courage.”

A version of this article was previously published in The Stripe newspaper at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Reprinted with permission.

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