|If you gave a coin away or received one and would like to share you experience, please let us know. We would love to hear about it.
One day at the dealership a huge man came through the door. He was about as large as the door opening
and was all muscle! I noticed he had a tattoo on his arm and I asked him to show it to me and he did.
After showing me he said "this is nothing, do you want to see the one on my other arm" and of course I
said yes. On his other arm was a tattoo of the Vietnam Wall! I said "you must be military" and he said
"yes" At that point I went to the safe and got a Military Appreciation Coin to give him and he just kept
starring at it and said nothing. I noticed tears were flowing and then he said "thank you, this will be my
second most valued possession". I said "WOW" and he said "do you want to see my most valued possession" and
of course I said "yes". He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wallet. Embedded in the wallet was
another coin. When he pulled it out and showed it to me, it was a satin black and inscribed on it was "Navy Seal"
Team 2... enough said.
--- R. Garrett, Nick Nicholas Ford Inverness, FL
The First Military coin we gave out was a WWII Bomber Pilot who flew over 50 missions into China. When I gave him the coin he was overwhelmed and
said no one ever gave him anything like that in his whole life. He sat in the chair and wept. I was also a "little" overwhelmed and wept with him.
--- R. Garrett, Nick Nicholas Ford Inverness, FL
I was making my way back home to NY from Dallas earlier today. As we were
approaching the gate at Reagan National in D.C., the flight attendant was going through his normal "welcome to Washington D.C. where the local time
is...blah blah blah." After the blah blah blah part, he called out a passenger who happened to be on the plane to thank him for his service to
our country. Well, of course my ears perked up and I actually listened to what a flight attendant was saying for once. The passenger was Dana
Bowman! A former US Army Special Forces, Ranger, Sniper, HALO, SCUBA and Golden Knight. Dana lost both of his legs in a freak skydiving accident
back in 1994 but re-enlisted anyway and continues to jump to this day.
Once I exited the plane, I waited in the gate area and couldn't wait to give him a GAC coin. As every passenger filed off the plane in the
crowded terminal, finally Dana emerged lugging his carry-on on his way to Walter Reed to speak to the wounded troops. I happened to be wearing a US
Army shirt and he looked right at me with that knowing look that fellow military men share and I went up to him to introduce myself, thank him for
his service and present the coin. At the time, I had very little knowledge of his story and all of his accomplishments and continued
service to our great nation. He was simply a great American who had given his all to America and I thought we'd shake hands, have a few words and
he'd go on about his business. Boy was I wrong! He stopped dead in his tracks, set everything down and took my hand in his like a true patriot
and actually thanked ME for what the GAC coin represents and all of the work you folks are doing. He then proceeded to open up his bag and
present me with his own Special Operations Command coin along with his card. I was absolutely speechless and have no idea what I managed to
mumble for a response. Here I was in the presence of a great American hero and the man is actually taking the time to have a conversation and
acknowledge the great work that you all are doing!
Aside from the birth of my children and the day I graduated jump school at Fort Benning, this was the most incredible moment of my life and one that
I will never forget! And it's all because of the Grateful American Coin!
As fellow patriots, I encourage everyone to visit Dana's web site to read
his biography so you can see just one example of a recipient of the GAC coin. You will be inspired!
--- Todd Waldo New Windsor, NY
A veteran who volunteers for my agency was describing his return home from Vietnam; ...the names we were called,
the taunts, and being spit on. Mothers were even telling thier children to yell and spit on us.... I wanted
to show him that America has changed. I presented him with a coin and he appeared to be truly grateful. So
much so that the next day he brought in a picture of what he did with the coin. The picture was of the coin,
framed with a typed label of when, where, and who presented it. Written on the back of the picture, he wrote,
"Just so you know that it wasn't thrown in drawer somewhere.
--- Tim Rainey Marietta, Georgia
Here are two photos that I took at the Veterans Appreciation Parade this
morning in Brooksville. I was able to give out eight Grateful American Coins to soldiers of Company C, 1/244
the Assualt Helicoper Battalion "The Privateers" (FL National Guard) who were there.
--- Benny Haimovitz New Port Richey, FL
Some of the coins I purchased I sent to the sandbox (my girlfriend's son is a Marine); but one coin is reserved for a
very special Veteran whom I just found out about. He fought with the 442nd RCT in WWII. Almost exclusively
made up of Japanese Americans, they chose to fight for this country, even though their families were held in the internment camps. They are the most
highly decorated unit of that size in WWII, and most likely, US Military history. This tiny unit was awarded at least 20 Congressional Medals of
Honor, and a staggering 9,400+ Purple Hearts. Even though they were full American citizens (as were their families), they had to be better and fight
harder than all other soldiers, to prove their patriotism. Truly amazing heroes. For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_Regimental_Combat_Team
--- Robert F. San Francisco, CA
My Niece has a boyfriend who is a U.S. Marine. The family had a going away party for
him (going to Iraq). Well I am glad I brought the Grateful American Coins to the cook out.
All that I brought was simply distributed to his Marine Comrades. I must tell you being an
Army Veteran it felt good to pass the coins out, since I never saw a conflict while I was in.
These Coins that the Bensons designed are greatly appreciated.
--- Robert J. Gallagher Jr. U.S. Army Veteran Medford, MA
My father retired from the Navy; my husband retired as a Lt. Colonel from the Air Force (B-52 pilot);
my daughter-in-law served in the Marines and my youngest son has served in the Air Force 15 years this
month. He has been deployed 7 times since 9-11 and has received 2 Bronze Stars. We are so proud of
him and of all of our troops. I have forwarded your website to my entire email list. I hope you get
many more orders. My 85 yr. old Mom just ordered 10 today. Keep up the good work.
God bless you, God bless our troops and God bless the USA!
--- Linda Roy Land O'Lakes, FL
My husband and many relatives are active duty right now and I worry about all of them. This is a great way to send
them all a little token of my appreciation!! Thanks!!!
---Josie Tampa, FL
As you know, we have purchased many coins from you. It has been such a pleasure to give these
coins to others. Well, today, on Memorial Day 2008, Tom was coined!! He came home and said,
'You will never guess what happened to me today' Well, after a long weekend of functions that we
participated in for Memorial day for our AmVets Post, he went to another function, and was coined.
It is such a wonderful feeling to know that this is all coming together. And from one grateful
American, I want to say Thank You to ALL of our Veterans, those for serving in the past and those
who are currently serving. God Bless you all.
---Tom and Rose Gates Valrico, FL
I was at grocery store and saw a tiny old man who had to be at least 85
years old sitting on a bench. He had a World War II hat on and was smiling
at everyone as they walked past. Thank God I had my US Army jacket on with
my last coin in the pocket.
I paid for my groceries and walked up to him and handed him my coin and could
barely speak I was so overcome with emotion. I thanked him for his "Greatest
Generation" service to America. He apparently had noticed my Army jacket before
I noticed him and told me that's why he waited at the store. HE wanted to thank
ME! He said he is so thankful for everyone who has served or is serving today
and that it gives him hope that when he's gone, his grandchildren (who are probably
my age!) will live in a better country. This was by far the best experience I have
had with the coins. It made my day and will always be with me!!!
---Todd Waldo New York
Last evening, a friend and I were shopping at a department store when I saw
a tall gentleman dressed in military fatigues. I remembered I had a coin in
my purse waiting for the perfect opportunity. I dug through my purse and
having found it, went searching for my soldier. I found him a few aisles
over and approached him. With a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart,
I introduced myself and explained that I am a grateful American and wanted
to thank him for keeping us safe and serving our country. He, with a huge
smile, responded back "My pleasure." I told him I had been waiting for the
perfect time to give this coin away and he was it. Again, he exclaimed, "My
pleasure and thank you." I said, "no, thank YOU!"
It was awesome. It was my first coining; but it definitely won't be my last.
---Julie Hellman Brandon, FL
To all that have and are participating in this great effort, first and
foremost I would like to say thank you.
Two days ago I was driving from MacDill AFB after work to go home for
the night. A few miles from the base there were protesters with signs. The only thing I said to myself as I passed by was "I do what I do so that
you have the freedom to do what you do."
I have never told anyone to support the conflicts we endeavor, but put
those feelings aside and remember the troops. Instead of the negativity,
try something positive.
Prior to today (March 28 2008) I have never heard of nor seen
one of these coins. On my way to work (in uniform) I was at a gas station
in Brandon, FL getting a cup of coffee. A lady came up to me and politely
said "excuse me" , then proceded to thank me while
holding out her hand. At first I thought it was to shake my hand, but then
I realized as she shook my hand, there was a coin.
I was speechless, and the only thing I could say in return was "Thank you,
this means a lot to me." It didnt really hit me until I got into
my car and drove off. Today I have shared this with everyone at work and am
looking get more individuals involved.
To the kind-hearted lady this morning,
I would like to say thank you, you have touched my heart and although I am
proud of what it is I do in the United States Army, today I am more proud not
just as a soldier, but as an American.
---MSG Samuel K. Colon-Escobar Valrico, Florida (Tampa)
What a great way to extend our gratitude to the great men & women of our services
(past and present). My wife and I recently wondered out loud "what more can we do?"
These coins can touch so many people. So many of us have or know of a veteran in our
lives. After speaking with the co-creator of this wonderful idea, Deb Benson, I could
feel the same excitement and commitment she has for this cause. As I'm sure she will
agree, this is the very least we, as grateful Americans, can do and to let them know
that "your sacrifices do not go unnoticed". Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a
small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing
that ever has." From reading the other posts I can see how a small token of our appreciation can go along way.
---Rodney Richardson Dover, Delaware
I can't thank you enough for starting Grateful American Coin. I purchased coins and had the opportunity to "Coin" a soldier
this past weekend. What a fantastic feeling to help a great cause by buying a coin and then the awesome feeling of giving
one of these extraordinary coins.
I took my family to San Antonio this past weekend and while looking in different shops
on the river-walk, I was carrying one of my kids, holding a drink, pushing a stroller and struggling with a stubborn door. Just
then, a cane tip was quickly inserted into the door jam and held the door open for my family and I to pass. When I
looked up to thank the person on the other end of the cane, I discovered that a soldier was responsible for this random
act of kindness. A soft-spoken young man, head still shaven and sporting a prosthetic leg. I really wanted to thank him, not just for helping with the door; but thank him
for staying awake so my family could sleep in peace and thank him for sacrificing his leg so that so many could keep
theirs. I reached in my pocket and retrieved the Grateful American Coin and handed it to him. I told him that I was
one of the millions of Grateful Americans and I just wanted to say thanks. His eye filled up with tears and he shook
my hand and said "Thank you! You don't know how much this means to me."
---Mikeal R. Morgan Cypress, Texas
Americans never understood the definition of a true American soldier until
Desert Storm. I never knew of a true American until September 11. As a C-5
Galaxy crew member at Dover for over 18 years I know what our spouses
endure. My heart goes out to our fallen and in recovery. I will continue to
be a part of our missions to provide support to our troops and bring home
the fallen with dignity and honor. Thank you.
---James Blake Camden, Delaware
I am making a surfboard for Brian Koflage
, a US soldier wounded in IRAQ. Brian lost both legs and a hand. He is a
very brave man who longs to get back in the surf. He grew up surfing in Hawaii and wants
to come home. He presently lives in Arizona. I am a big supporter of our
military and hope they all get home safe.
---Kimo Greene - Owner - Kimo Greene Surfboards
We sincerely hope that more and more people will purchase these coins. The support of our military is essential and these coins are a wonderful way to show them that we appreciate what they are doing for us and our country. Thank you and God Bless you.
---Tom & Rose Gates Valrico, Florida
I handed a coin to a very young man at the airport who was being deployed for service. He waited
for his plane with his mother and father. I approached him and presented him with a coin as he
tried to take in my gratitude. His mother began to cry. Both parents were obviously
emotional considering the situation. I walked away after a few pleasantries hoping to have added a
lift to their spirits that morning and ensure he knew he was appreciated.
---Dan, Lake Worth, FL
I brought coins to the UF-FSU football game hoping the pilots from the fly over would watch the game from
the sidelines. Upon seeing them enter the field, I walked down to the wall and called a pilot
over to present him with a coin. He proceeded to call the other airmen over for me to thank
each of them for their service. One pilot then presented me with two Air Force patches. It
was as exciting as the football game.
---Betty, Tampa, FL
I bought 10 coins to give to armed forces to thank them for all Americans that appreciate
what they do to keep us safe.
The first coin I gave was to Chief Edward E. Bartels, USCG. I was travelling in Tampa and saw several men in uniform. I walked up
and shook hands with one and said, "I AM A GRATEFUL AMERICAN AND THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO". He said,
"YOU ARE WELCOME." He stated he was based out of Camp Lejeone, NC and was in Tampa for a Special Services conference.
He then asked what I do. I told him I worked for Verizon Wireless out of Jacksonville. Chief
Bartels then said his daughter worked for Verizon Wireless in NY. Small world. I handed him the
coin. I had tears in my eyes because I could tell he loves his job and loves America. To know
that Grateful American Coin was started by a Verizon Wireless employee and that the 1st coin I gave out was to the father of a Verizon employee
was a sign that the world is small and we all touch each other.
I can't wait to give out my 2nd coin!
---Kathleen Clark Jacksonville, FL