Just three and a half days before he was scheduled to depart for a secret tour of U.S. combat zones in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert learned he should bring something to give Utah soldiers he might meet-something meaningful.
Traditionally, governors give “Governor’s Coins” or custom crafted medallions to active, deployed troops. Part of military tradition, the keepsakes are second only to medals and are valued by soldiers as an emblem of their home state and a symbol of the gratitude of its people.
But when Governor’s Office staff inventoried the supply of coins, they found only 30; they needed 200.
Production of new coins would require a one month turn-around with the regular supplier. So staff reached out to the most reputable local company they could think of-O.C. Tanner, maker of the Olympic medals.
From executives to designers, O.C. Tanner sprung into action, not only assuring the Governor the project could be completed in time, but also donating the coins as a gift to Utah’s troops. At least 44 O.C. Tanner employees put aside other work to focus on producing the coins for the Governor’s trip, knowing nothing of the details at the time, only that they were going to be given to Utah soldiers by the Governor.
“We were told they finished the coins around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, just hours before the Governor left for the Middle East,” said Ally Isom, deputy chief of staff and spokesperson for the Governor. “Often, the Governor will refer to Team Utah, citing the need for all of us to step up and be part of the collective solution. We at the Governor’s Office cannot thank O.C. Tanner enough for their timeliness, professionalism, kindness and generosity. They went above and beyond for Team Utah. The coins are breathtaking.”