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Pennsylvania Legislators Join Volunteers At Woodcraft Turn for Troops EventBack to Press Releases
PARKERSBURG, W. VA. December 2010 – More than 12,000 handcrafted wooden pens are making their way to American service personnel actively deployed overseas or in rehabilitation facilities in the U.S.—personal gifts of appreciation from hundreds of volunteers who participated in Woodcraft’s seventh annual Turn for Troops National Turn-a-thon. Woodcraft store owners nationwide hosted the event on the weekend prior to Veterans Day.

Newcomers to the pen turning event included Pennsylvania legislators—U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent and state Rep. Justin Simmons—who were invited to the Allentown Woodcraft store by owners Mary and Ray Winkler.

“I thought it would be a great thing for them as representatives to show their support for the troops,” Mary explained. “It was also an opportunity to focus media attention on the sacrifices the troops make every day for their country and the role a small business can play in expressing the nation’s gratitude.” Like most volunteers, Congressman Dent and Rep. Simmons wrote personal notes to accompany their handcrafted pens.

Turn-a-thon events account for the majority of the pens sent to troops, but many volunteers—like Ernie Killingbeck—turn pens throughout the year. Killingbeck, who turned 300 pens in the past two years, brings his pens to the Buffalo (New York) Woodcraft store where owner Sally Anderson ships them out as part of Woodcraft’s Turn for Troops program. “He can kick them out in probably half an hour,” Anderson said. “Ernie’s just very good at it.”

Local television station WGRZ featured Ernie in an online interview in which he shares: “Each pen is prayed over, that whosoever receives it, that the Lord puts a seal of protection about them to bring them safely back to us.”

Responses from soldiers affirm the value of the volunteers’ efforts. Following are comments taken from recent thank-you letters and cards.

“I wanted to let you know all the support we receive from the states is well appreciated. It makes a big difference knowing we are not alone out here, and the good folks back home such as yourselves make that happen.”

“Thank you so very much for the pens. What an amazing effort and cost went into those…The pens went all over Iraq, to the soldiers all the way to the Syrian, Turkish, and Iranian borders.”

“We truly appreciate all your efforts and the “Turn for Troops” program. Attached are some photos for you of our soldiers enjoying their new pens.”

Since Woodcraft began the Turn for Troops program seven years ago, more than 74,000 pens have been turned by volunteers.

Woodcraft is the industry leader in providing a wide variety of top quality products, educational opportunities and one-on-one guidance to woodworkers of all skill levels. For more information about Woodcraft, contact the store nearest you, visit or call (800) 535-4482.