PUNXSUTAWNEY — A Punxsutawney woman has found a way to give back to veterans: She distributes Veteran’s Challenge Coins.
Cheryl Bottenhorn comes from a family of veterans on both her and her husband’s side of the family. She had been looking for a way to honor veterans in the area when she came across the Veteran’s Challenge Coins.
She saw the coins online last March, and decided she would order them and give them away to veterans or their families. Bottenhorn has three different coins that she will give; a prisoner of war coin, an all veterans coin, and a purple heart coin.
“I saw them online, and I thought it would be great to hand them out to all the veterans,” Bottenhorn said. “I do not charge a dime, and if I run out I get their names and addresses to send when I get more coins.”
Bottenhorn doesn’t ask for anything in return, but if people decide to make a donation for the coin, she gives the money to the Groundhog Club.
She has worked the information table for Groundhog Day for the past few years, and got permission to distribute the coins during the weekend this year. She also had cards thanking veterans for their service.
“Three of their inner circle members are actually veterans,” Bottenhorn said.
She gave them coins for their service on Groundhog Day during the autograph session held in the activity tent. She also presented the Punxsuawney American Legion with a set of the three coins in the past.
Channel 10 picked up on her mission and ran a news story about her some time ago. This spread the word much further than Punxsutawney, and she had veterans reach out to her from Atlanta, Georgia, and Alaska seeking coins.
“It’s so that every veteran out there can be honored and if something happens to them a member of their family can have it,” Bottenhorn said.
She tries to carry some of the coins with her when she goes anywhere. One day she stopped at the veterans medical center in DuBois and gave a coin to a veteran who was at the center.
Bottenhorn can be contacted through her personal Facebook page for the coins. She is willing to send them anywhere for veterans. Everything is kept confidential when she sends them to people through the mail.