John Deere honors veterans with challenge coins

MILAN, Illinois -- John Deere on Friday honored dozens of its employees who have served the country in uniform.

The company presented the more than 80 veterans working at the North American Parts Distribution Center with military challenge coins.

"They're really cool," said Sam Spitzmiller, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who works as a picker at the Milan facility. "I've never heard of companies doing this."

The coins are a time-honored tradition of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, often given to members in honor of years of service, graduating boot camp and other accomplishments.

"It's something that people can be proud of," said Kim Beardsley, the Vice President of Worldwide Parts Services. "It's about pride in the branch that they served in."

The unique challenge coins presented on Friday are emblazoned with the seals of all five military branches on one side, with the U.S. flag on the other.

"It's going to hold a place in the man cave," said UAW Safety Rep Lonnie Hostens. "Just with the other ones I have from my service in the Marine Corps."

The company said that veterans play a very special role at the distribution center thanks to their unique skill sets and work ethic.

"They come to work," said Spitzmiller. "I didn't even know what calling into work was; I mean it's just not something you could ever do."