Showing Gratitude for Our Nation’s MilitaryDuring every home game, the Tampa Bay Lighting take a moment to honor members of America’s military through recognition ceremonies and standing salutes. The stadium erupts with cheers for the active duty soldiers and veterans that are standing on the ice and waving to the crowd. Showing appreciation for the sacrifice and courage of our nation’s heroes is something the Lightning have always made a top priority.
Edward Pereira, the founder and chairman of the Gratitude Professor Foundation, is also passionate about showing support and encouragement to our nation’s military, and when he decided to approach the Lightning about a potential partnership, we were happy he considered our products to help him in this endeavor. His foundation is a charity organization dedicated to creating meaningful ways to give messages of love and honor to the brave men and women of our nation’s military through unique challenge coin programs and hero packages.
What they accomplish can best be explained by Pereira himself, who said in an interview with Wesley Chapel magazine, “Our Medal of Honor Hero Packages change lives … taking the opportunity to personally and tangibly honor and thank a hero by putting a Medal of Honor around their neck and letting them know that they are loved and that they matter is very powerful.”
These coins were put up for sale during the Lightning Foundation’s charity auction, which took place November 10, 2018 on Military Appreciation Night. All proceeds from the Tampa Bay Lightning challenge coins went directly to the Gratitude Professor Foundation to help continue their mission of spreading love and honor to the members of our Nation’s military. But these coins are not meant to be just simple keepsakes. Pereira wanted to make a coin that could give Tampa Bay Lightning fans a way to spread love and gratitude around the world on their own!
Challenge Coins That Change Hands and Change LivesWhat he came up with is the Random Acts of Gratitude (R.A.G.S.) to Wishes challenge coin program. Just as the inscription says above the Gratitude Professor Foundation logo, the purpose of these coins is to inspire people to “be the thunder of change” in someone’s life. In the military, custom coins like these are awarded to soldiers in recognition of excellent service and courage in the line of duty. They are meaningful gifts that hold a strong emotional value because of what they represent.
Challenge coins are proof that a soldier’s sacrifices matter, that they are making a difference and that others can see their incredible achievements. Superior officers hand them out as a way of telling a soldier that their efforts are not going by unnoticed and that their service to our nation deserves honor.
This is why Pereira includes challenge coins in all of his foundation’s programs, and why the R.A.G.S. to Wishes coins are so powerful. Just like soldiers deserve gratitude for their immeasurable service, so do the heroes in our everyday life. Maybe it’s a parent who makes sacrifices every day to make sure you are safe and happy and cared for. It could be a friend who stuck by your side during the toughest time in your life, even when everyone else had gone. Or maybe there is a soldier in your life, and you want to show them how much you appreciate their hard work and selfless service.
The Lighting coins are supposed to be awarded to one of your heroes with a personal message of appreciation and love. The coin is a physical representation of how much they matter to you and how you appreciate everything that they do. It can be easy to forget how important some people are to us and to take them for granted. These coins give us a chance to make a difference in their lives through gratitude.
It's easy to see how gratitude can change someone's life for the better when hearing from a person like Sven Nelson, a United States Army veteran whose family presented him with a hero package from the Gratitude Professor. “To be honored by the Gratitude Professor for being a hero, it means the world to me. It shows my son that I did something more than just being his father. I did something for him, for my country and for my family … This is something truly special that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
By donating to the R.A.G.S. to Wishes program, you are helping Pereira’s charity continue changing the lives of veterans and soldiers all over the nation, and getting a chance to make a difference in the life of someone you hold close to your heart.
Spreading Your Message With Challenge CoinsChallenge coin programs like this are an excellent way of getting people involved with your organization and for spreading your message. One of the most interesting aspects of the Tampa Bay Lightning coins is the addition of sequential numbering. Pereira made sure to include a unique number for every coin so that they could be registered online and tracked as they change hands.
The idea behind the program is not only to show gratitude to someone important in your life but also to challenge them to do the same. This keeps the Lightning challenge coins moving from person to person, spreading love and appreciation as they go. Once the coin number is registered, people can post pictures and their stories of gratitude online. This means that everyone involved with the program can watch their one act of gratitude spread across the world!
Pereira’s challenge coin program is a unique and meaningful way to get people involved with his organization and spread the message of gratitude. Besides the Tampa Bay Lightning coins, we have made several other medals and challenge coins for the Gratitude Professor Foundation. Each one is designed to be presented as a gift of thanks with a personal message of love, honor and appreciation.
Charities and nonprofits of all kinds come to us looking for custom challenge coins and we are always happy to help. Heroes in the Rough and the Highground Veterans Park are both non-profit military organizations that use our coins to honor supporters and service members, similar to how Pereira uses his challenge coins. Custom artwork is crafted to promote the cause and help get people involved.
For Pereira, gratitude is an integral part of his life. All of the coins he designs with our team symbolize the courage and sacrifices soldiers make while protecting our country. We are honored and humbled knowing that our products are used for such an important cause, and are excited to see what will come next for the Gratitude Professor Foundation. If you or your organization are looking for a unique way to show your gratitude or rally support for your cause, give us a call and see what we can design for you!
If you’d like to learn more about Pereira and the Gratitude Professor Foundation, visit the website: gratitudeprofessor.org.