Rathkeale the First Town in Ireland to Use Challenge Coins to Honour 52 People Who Made Their Community a Better Place to Be
press release Monday December 30, 2019 10:01 by David Lamont - Rathkeale Community Council
Rathkeale, small Limerick town, is first in Ireland to adopt the American Challenge Coin concept to thank 52 of its citizens for making it a better place to be and to encourage others to lend a helping hand.
Saturday 28th of December 2019, Rathkeale, a small rural town in West Limerick, honoured 52 people as Champions – people who made the community a better place to be.
The people of Rathkeale chose a diverse set of Champions that include the Tidy Town’s crew, the council street sweeper, a teacher, a Limerick County Council administrator, gardai, a journalist, a Special Olympian, a prolific marathon runner, community and county councillors, members of the Traveller community, people who run popular clubs/societies, local employers and TDs.
The awards say, ‘Thank You’ to those who generously donated their time, skills and resources without any expectation of payment”, said David Lamont, the organiser of the program. “These often-overlooked people are just 3% of the adult population and are the core of Rathkeale. Some have contributed for decades. I expect they will keep up the good work and I hope the recognition will encourage others to lend a helping hand.”
The Rathkeale Champions received an exclusive limited-edition commemorative Challenge Coin and a gift during a 150-person strong ceremony at the Rathkeale House Hotel. The Rathkeale Community Council, who underpinned the awards program, is the first in Ireland to adopt the Challenge Coin concept.
The awarding of Challenge Coins is an American tradition that dates to The Great War. Initially, their uniqueness identified the holder as an ally. Soldiers were encouraged to carry them with a barroom challenge. A coin holder would challenge others to display theirs. Those without bought the drinks. Today, Challenge Coins are earned with recognised service. Most recipients treasure and collect them.
Over €3,000 in gifts and prizes were generously donated to the Rathkeale awards program by 21 local sponsors that included ABP, AIB, Ballintemple Inn, Brenda O’Grady of Bank of Ireland, Bloomer’s Cafe, Brian Geary Toyota, Celtfab, Deel Bakery, D&M Garden Centre, Eurospar, Giltenane’s Pharmacy, Kay’s Unisex Hair Salon, Layna's Beauty Rooms, O’Gairbhi Newsagent, Rathkeale & District Credit Union, Rath Caola Le Cheile/West Limerick Resources, Scanlon Auctioneers, Sean Hennessy Electrical Superstores, Tadhg O'Connor Electrical, The Washboard and White’s Food Store & Texaco station.
About the Rathkeale Community Council
The Rathkeale Community Council is a committee of volunteers elected by local people to advocate on behalf of the community, fund-raise, and to provide facilities. They carry out projects and organise events that improve the lives of the all the people in the area.
David Lamont, the Rathkeale Rising Challenge Champion Award Program Director, moved to Rathkeale from California. He brought the Challenge Coin concept with him after earning several for his services in search and rescue.