Denver’s mayor gives honorees fancy gold coins instead of keys to the city
“We don’t give away keys to the city, John. Too many people breaking in.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has fancy gold coins for “outstanding individuals” who have contributed to the city.
The general manager of the Denver Broncos has one, so do three former presidents and Stevie Wonder. Altogether, 30 people and organizations have received Challenge Coins from Hancock since October 2013, according to a list the Mayor’s Office shared with Denverite.
Denver’s coins are modeled after challenge coins collected by soldiers and police officers. When awarding a coin to former Broncos quarterback John Elway earlier this year, Hancock reportedly quipped, “We don’t give away keys to the city, John. Too many people breaking in.”
It’s not just celebrities who have received Denver Challenge Coins.
“Mayor Hancock has given his Challenge Coins to local figures like Albertine Sellers for her 60 years of service to the city and county of Denver, to Marie Greenwood who was the first African-American school teacher within the Denver Public Schools system, to several county court judges for their service to the Denver community, among many others,” said Jenna Espinoza, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office.
Who has a Denver Challenge Coin?
- 2013 DIA Timecapsule
- Albertine Sellers, longest-serving city employee
- Big Jon Platt, CEO and chairman of Warner Chappell Music
- Chauncey Billups, retired Denver Nuggets player
- Dana Crawford, developer and preservationist
- David Cohen, TechStars founder
- Denver County Judge Alfred C. Harrell
- Denver County Judge Claudia Jordan
- Denver County Judge Kerry Hada
- Denver County Judge Raymond N. Satter
- Denver County Judge Robert Crew
- Denver Press Club
- Gen. Anthony Zinni
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic athlete
- John Elway, Denver Broncos general manager
- John Whelan, Denver firefighter engineer
- Lt. Col. Kenneth Chavez
- Lt. Gen. Edward G. Anderson III
- Makoto Ito, former Consul General of Japan
- Marcus Latrell, retired Navy Seal and author of “Lone Survivor”
- Marie Greenwood, first African-American DPS teacher
- Mitch Morrissey, former Denver District Attorney
- President Bill Clinton
- President Barack Obama
- President Jimmy Carter
- Rev. Leon Kelly Jr., executive director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives
- Rev. William Golson, founder of True Light Baptist Church
- Stevie Wonder
- Tom Clark, former Economic Development Corp. CEO
- Yvette Carlson, U.S. Army veteran
Due to a source error, Denver firefighter engineer John Whelan was not included on the original list from the Mayor’s Office. Whelan died in 2015 after falling through a roof while responding to a fire.
Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at email@example.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.
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