WASHINGTON, DC (Gray News) - Members of the U.S. Secret Service have important duties, the most visible of which includes protecting the well-being ofimportant government officials. So the majority of them have been forced to work without compensation as the month-long government shutdown drags on.
The Secret Service employs more than 7,222 workers. It is organized under the Department of Homeland Security, one of the departments affected by the partial shutdown, so 6,000 of them are working without pay, with the others on furlough.
To commemorate the experience of working without pay, the men and women of the Secret Service have specially designed challenge coins. No government funds were used in the creation of the coins, which were funded by the employees and others, CNN reported.
CNN’s Jake Tapper took photographs of one of them. The front of the coin includes a star crossed with a ribbon that reads “Shut happens." The perimeter of the coin reads “United States Secret Service Essential Personnel.”
The back of the coin includes an illustration of the nation’s Capitol with a “closed” sign and the promise: “Don’t worry. You’ll get backpay.”
A sharp-eyed Twitter user noted that two pacifiers are included on the back of the coin.
In addition to not being paid, the Secret Service are incurring expenses in connection with their work, and they don’t know when they’ll see another paycheck.
Challenge coins are common among military and related organizations, as the Department of Defense noted, though civilian agencies have adopted the unofficial practice. It isn’t quite known how the tradition got started, though theories abound and include a soldier’s brush with execution in World War I.