The Challenge Coin
The Challenge Coin has a long tradition. A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion, bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and is carried by the organization’s members. They are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. The PWCARES Challenge Coin logo was designed by David Lane, KG4GIY with the help of Symbol Arts, who also did the manufacture.
PWCARES Challenge Coin Wall of Honor
The Prince William County ARES®/RACES Challenge Coin was instituted in 2009 as a way of rewarding members of the cadre who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, or for those that have aided and promoted the cause of Amateur Radio. Anyone may be nominated to receive the Challenge Coin and the final award is at the Emergency Coordinator's discretion.
|Kathy Simmons, Prince William County Office of Emergency Management: Kathy has been awarded the inaugural coin for her outstanding and unflagging support of PWCARES since joining Prince William County. It is a Thank You that was long over due.|
|David Meola, KI4AZX: David built up and managed the successful 2009 Simulated Emergency Test exercise Where's Waldo almost single-handedly.|
|Linux Journal: The 2010 Linux Journal was focused on Amateur Radio.|
|Steve Frick, N4OGR (SK): Steve has consistently supported PWCARES for more than 10 years. In his own quiet way, he promotes ARES and a Amateur Radio to the members of the local community, served agencies and government leaders. His professionalism is so sublime, that it is almost overlooked. It is a Thank You for his past, present and future service that have long gone unsaid.|
|CW150 20 Hour Volunteers: From July 21 - 24, 2011, 45 Amateur Radio operators donated 776 hours assisting the City of Manassas with communications for the 150 remembrance of the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run). All operators are thanked for their effort and these operators that donated more than 20 hours to the cause are awarded the Challenge Coin: Ray Hutt, AA4SI; Ron Doby, AE4RD; Rob McKinnie, AL7AW; Jay Hockstaine, K2YUB; Cameron Mackenzie, K6CLM; Bob Friend, KC4TNC; Dianne Lane, KI4FVV; Branch Moeling, KI4KEX; Trisha Wells, KI4PCM; Chris Allen, KI4POT; Justin Anderle, KJ4LAS; Rob Williams, KJ4LWN; Ivan Venuchekov, WB4DTD; Darala Doby, WB4USA; Brian Cochran, WC4J.|
|Brian Cochran, WC4J: As an Official Observer, Net Manager, tinkerer and ARES member, Brian has supported ARES and Amateur Radio in a number of ways, acting as cheerleader, operator, and watchdog, ensuring better operations, and creating better operators.|
|Chuck Helverson, KA3EHL: As president of the Woodbridge Wireless Amateur Radio Club, Chuck has encouraged the membership to follow his lead. From introducing new technologies, like FlDigi, to participating in community, and ARES activities, he has shown that there is always something new to learn in this hobby.|
|George Tarnovsky, K4GVT: As president of the Ole Virginia Hams Amateur Radio Club, George has strived to improve the relations between Amateur Radio and the general pubic, including arguing against BPL, improving the club, and raising visibility of Amateur Radio and its capabilities in the community in general.|
|Terry McCarty, WA5NTI (SK): Terry single-handedly drove the intial contact and program creation for the 4H/Amateur Radio classes and informational sessions. From introducing young people to Amateur radio at the Prince William Fair, to the Youth Lounge at the Manassas Hamfest, Terry has been invloved in every aspect of the program is responsible for its great success.|
|Gavin Saul, KK4MXT: By inspiring the S.A.L.T 4H Amateur Radio program, Gavin has shared his love of Amateur Radio by introducing a whole new generation to the hobby, exposing them to all facets and making it fun to be a “ham.”|
|Kristin Saul: Through the S.A.L.T 4H Amateur Radio program, Kristin has introduced a whole new generation to the hobby, exposing them to all facets and making it fun to be a “ham.”|
|Robert Saul, KK4MXU: Through the S.A.L.T 4H Amateur Radio program, Robert has shared his love of Amateur Radio by introducing a whole new generation to the hobby, exposing them to all facets and making it fun to be a “ham.”|
|Clarence Meese, K4CNM (SK): It is hard to think about PWCARES without Clarence's participation. He was a M.A.R.S. operator and NCS station, an Official Emergency Station, helped Terry with the 4H Amateur Radio program and created the most copied radio go-kit we have ever had. He coordinated the Mini-Tri for W4OVH. He was always willing to pitch in and never complained about the mission, the task, or the time. We will miss his leadership, and his friendship.|
|Jack Cochran, Sr.: Behind every good man... It goes without saying that many of us could not support PWCARES with out the support of our family. In Jack's case, he has been supporting his son, Brian, WC4J, for as long as I have known them. Where Brian is, Jack is not far behind. Jack has encouraged, cajoled, nudged, and added his labour when Brian could not.|
|The Endurance Award: Occasionally it happens that a number of events pile up requiring support of operators in a way that tests their endurance and commitment. For those operators, we award the Endurance Award. The inaugural recipients of the Endurance Award are: Andy, KJ4MTP, Brian, WC4J, Greg, KM4CCG, Dan, WA4GSD|
|The Marine Corps Marathon Program Office: For more than a decade, the Marine Corps Marathon Program Office has provided PWCARES an opportunity to hone our skills in field deployments over various terrains and in less than perfect weather. This training has been put to work supporting real world deployments and would not have been possible without their support.|
|Prince William County: has been a staunch partner with Prince William County ARES over the last twenty years. They have provided us opportunities to train, learn and grow as a Cadre and as a trusted partner with the County. We look forward to another twenty years of partnership.|
|National Park Service: The Prince William Forest Park, part of the National Park Service, has recognized the value and importance of Amateur Radio. By permitting PWCARES to mount an antenna on their new mast, erected 30 April 2022 with the help of members of PWCARES, we look forward to this new partnership with the NPS.|
The Endurance Award
Occasionally it happens that a number of events pile up requiring support of operators in a way that tests their endurance and commitment.
|Andy Gamponia, KJ4MTP: Andy coordinated and participated in the Serve Our Willing Warriors Ride on Saturday, June 8, then the CIA-OSS Overnight Run on the same day, followed by the MCM Recon/Belleau Wood/Muck on June 15, then coordinated and participated in the Manassas Mini-Tri on Sunday, June 23, 2019. A total of 30 hours worked over four weeks, including 24+ hours in two events.|
|Brian Cochran, WC4J: Brain participated in the Serve Our Willing Warriors Ride on Saturday, June 8, then the CIA-OSS Overnight Run on the same day, followed by the MCM Recon/Belleau Wood/Muck on June 15, then Field Day, June 22 - 23, 2019. A total of 46 hours worked over four weeks, including 24+ hours in two events and 24 hours in one event.|
|Greg Gresham, KM4CCG: Greg participated in the Serve Our Willing Warriors Ride on Saturday, June 8, followed by the MCM Recon/Belleau Wood/Muck on June 15, then coordinated and participated in Field Day, June 22 - 23, 2019. A total of 46 hours worked over four weeks, including 24+ hours in one event.|
|Dan Mouer, WA4GSD: Dan participated in the Serve Our Willing Warriors Ride on Saturday, June 8, then the CIA-OSS Overnight Run on the same day, followed by the MCM Recon/Belleau Wood/Muck on June 15, then Field Day, June 22 - 23, 2019. A total of 46 hours worked over four weeks, including 24+ hours in two events and 24 hours in one event.|
|Brain Misner, KN4DZA: went above and beyond what would have been expected in his role of Emergency Manager. He not only aided PWCARES getting access to County resource for Field Day, but participated in the set-up and tear down during tremendous heat. Because this occurred outside his normal work hours, he is awarded the Endurance Award.|
Awarded to the Cadre
Occasionally the Cadre gets group acknowledgement. These are the challenge coins and thanks awarded to the Cadre.
|Prince William Forest, NPS: On Saturday, April 30, 2022, the Cadre assisted the Prince William Forest Park, NPS with the installation of their new 100 foot antenna tower at Turkey Run. It is with gratitude that the cadre is presented the challenge coin.|
As the legend goes, a wealthy lieutenant, ordered small, solid-bronze medallions (or coins) struck, which he then presented to the other pilots in his squadron as mementos of their service together. The coin was gold-plated, bore the squadron’s insignia, and was quite valuable. One of the pilots in the squadron, who had never owned anything like the coin, placed it in a leather pouch he wore around his neck for safekeeping.
A short while later, this pilot’s aircraft was heavily damaged by ground fire (other sources claim it was an aerial dogfight), forcing him to land behind enemy lines and allowing him to be captured by the Germans. The Germans confiscated the personal belongings from his pockets, but they didn’t catch the leather pouch around his neck. On his way to a permanent prisoner of war facility, he was held overnight in a small German-held French village near the front. During the night, the town was bombarded by the British, creating enough confusion to allow the pilot to escape.
The pilot avoided German patrols by donning civilian attire, but all of his identification had been confiscated so he had no way to prove his identity. With great difficulty, he crept across no-man’s land and made contact with a French patrol. Unfortunately for him, the French had been on the lookout for German saboteurs dressed as civilians. The French mistook the American pilot for a German saboteur and immediately prepared to execute him.
Desperate to prove his allegiance and without any identification, the pilot pulled out the coin from his leather pouch and showed it to his French captors. One of the Frenchmen recognized the unit insignia on the coin and delayed the execution long enough to confirm the pilot’s identity.
Once the pilot safely returned to his squadron, it became a tradition for all members to carry their coin at all times. To ensure compliance, the pilots would challenge each other to produce the coin. If the challenged couldn’t produce the coin, he was required to buy a drink of choice for the challenger; if the challenged could produce the coin, the challenger would purchase the drink.