PARKERSBURG, W. VA. - October 31, 2016 -- On the weekend of Nov.11-12, hundreds of woodturners will gather at participating Woodcraft stores across the country to make special thank-you gifts for military personnel during the 13th Woodcraft Turn for Troops National Turn-a-Thon. To participate in this national event, contact the nearest Woodcraft store for more details.
Volunteer turners will craft one-of-a-kind wood pens for military personnel on active duty or recovering at rehabilitation centers. Woodcraft will provide tools and supplies, and turners are encouraged to include a personal thank-you message with each pen that may also include details about the pen such as the wood used.
Since the turn-a-thon began, volunteers of all ages have turned 132,398 unique handcrafted writing instruments for military men and women in recognition of their service to their country. Of that total, 12,909 pens were turned in 2015.
“Woodcraft continues to sponsor the Turn for Troops event because many Americans are still serving in harm’s way to protect the United States,” Woodcraft president Jody Garrett said. “Woodcraft recognizes the tremendous sacrifices they are making, both in time away from their families and in instances where injuries have resulted in time spent in rehabilitation centers.”
The handmade pens may be small in size, but a U.S. Army chaplain who handles distribution of many of the pens, made this observation: “It may just be a pen to you and I, but for Soldiers going to or just surviving a combat zone, your small gift tells them that people still care.”
That message has been repeated in the many thank-you notes sent to Woodcraft over the years, including the two below.
A sailor serving on the USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier in 2014 wrote: “We are embarked on an extended deployment and still have a few months to go. Receiving a gift like this means more than you can imagine. Thanks for supporting the men and women of the armed forces. It’s great to know that people like you have our backs.”
In 2012, this note came from Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan: “I just wanted to say thank you for the work, dedication and craftsmanship that went into making the pens for us. I received my pen a couple of days before Christmas, and it is great to know that Americans took time from their day to make and send us such a great gift. I never thought the words ‘Handmade in the USA’ would look so good! Thank you, Merry Christmas and God Bless America!”
If you have never turned a pen but would like to participate in the turn-a-thon, check with your local Woodcraft store about whether first-time pen turning instructions will be provided the day of the turn-a-thon.
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