The Christopher A. Patterson Phi Mu Alpha Veteran Challenge Coin

Honoring Our Veterans

The origins of the challenge coin dates back to World War II when they were first used to help verify a person’s identity. Today, a challenge coin is a small medallion bearing the group’s insignia or emblem and carried by its members. Traditionally, they are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale and are often presented in recognition of special achievement or on a special visit. Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia seeks to honor this tradition with The Christopher A. Patterson Phi Mu Alpha Veteran Challenge Coin.

Brother Christopher A. Patterson
Kappa Sigma (Valparaiso) 2010

Brother Christopher Alexander Patterson was initiated into the Kappa Sigma chapter of Phi Mu Alpha at Valparaiso University in 2010. As a service member of the United States National Guard, Brother Patterson thought there should be a challenge coin for Phi Mu Alpha, and was working on a design for one before he lost his life in January of 2012 while on active duty in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan.

Christopher was initiated in October 2010 into the Kappa Sigma Chapter at Valparaiso University, where he was studying music education. Coming from a strong military family, Christopher enlisted with the Indiana National Guard and served as a 12B Combat Engineer with the 713th Engineering Company based out of the Valparaiso Armory. When his unit was activated, he did not have to go, but he chose to serve his country.

Following Christopher’s death, his mother and father picked up the torch to carry on the good work and vision that Brother Patterson felt so strongly about. Completing the work that Chris has started, a final Sinfonia Veteran Challenge Coin design was produced in time for the 2012 National Convention in Orlando, FL.

It is in the will of the Patterson family and by decree of the National Executive Committee that the Challenge Coin is now a reality and offered to any and all Sinfonian veterans of the armed forces of the United States. Designed to bring Sinfonian veterans together with other brothers, Sinfonia is tremendously proud to offer this challenge coin to honor our veterans in a uniquely Sinfonian way. With the exception of those who are on active duty – who can have them sent directly to them – coins can be obtained through chapters, provinces, or national events along with a special ceremony honoring our brothers’ service.

The Christopher A. Patterson Phi Mu Alpha Veteran Challenge Coin

“One of Christopher’s choir directors was the sort of director that focused on technique and precision. She was good and her choirs performed well, but she was always looking for that perfection, until the day of Christopher’s funeral. The a capella group Chris sang with at Valpo, VuVox, was there to sing and honor Chris and the music director heard them when they were standing around the piano just improvising and harmonizing. In her words “Their music was freely created, not exactly perfect at that moment, but they loved creating harmony together.” She told my wife she realized music does not have to be so exact. She then went on to arrange a song based on Rachel Field’s poem “Something Told the Wild Geese.” The idea came when a formation of wild geese flew overhead just before the 21-gun salute and the funeral. From this sighting and what she heard listening to VuVox, she knew the sound and effect she wanted and then just “threw caution to the wind and wrote for the fun of it.” Her final words on this, “Thanks, Chris, you taught me well.”

– Brother Robert Patterson, Kappa Sigma ’13
father of Christopher Patterson

Former National President John Mongiovi, along with the parents of fallen brother Christopher Patterson, announcing the new challenge coin program at the 2012 National Convention.

Any current or former members of any of the following branches of the Armed Forces are eligible to receive a Challenge Coin.

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard
Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard
Army National Guard
Air National Guard
Army Reserve
Navy Reserve
Air Force Reserve
Marine Corps Reserve
Coast Guard Reserve
Army National Guard
Air National Guard
Army Reserve
Navy Reserve
Air Force Reserve
Marine Corps Reserve
Coast Guard Reserve

Click below to order Challenge Coins to honor those brothers who have pledged themselves to serve in our country’s military or email nhq@sinfonia.org to request your Challenge Coin today.

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