University of Oklahoma sophomore Derrick Haggard shared in his own words what challenge coins meant to him. Haggard, who is from Chicago, served four years in the U.S. Navy before coming to Norman to study chemistry.

“Challenge coins have been a military tradition for generations, and it recognizes service members hard work, dedication and pride. When I first joined the service, I never thought I would receive one, but when I was awarded my first coin by my supervisor, I was overwhelmed with joy and admiration of the coin. I had never seen anything like it, and I was proud to call it my own. I never knew how I would feel if I received one, but when I did it made me feel more valued and a part of an organization that cares about service member’s morale. Not only was I proud, I used that extra inspiration to motivate fellow sailors to reach their full potential and to make a valuable experience from their time in service. The coins I received I carry with me every day, each coin has its value and meaning. I love to share the stories behind each coin to fellow friends and family. Each coin reflects a period of my life that I achieved great accomplishment and recognition, and I will forever remember the memories that were created when I was in the U.S. Navy.”

Haggard earned his challenge coins while stationed at Amphibious Construction Battalion One in San Diego, California.