Woodcraft Seeks Volunteers to Turn Pens for TroopsComments (0)
Woodcraft is looking for volunteers for the 17th annual Turn for Troops Turn-a-Thon.
Woodcraft will sponsor its 17th Turn for Troops National Turn-a-Thon on November 7 and 8 and is asking volunteers to continue supporting those on active military duty or recovering from injuries by making handcrafted wood pens – at either a retail store event or at home for submission to Woodcraft.
In 2019, volunteers turned 15,385 one-of-a-kind pens for a 16-year
total of 190,609 pens. Woodcraft’s goal this year is at least 200,000 pens and
hopefully many more.
Why turn pens? Recipients
of pens often send notes of appreciation. This note from a sailor serving on
the USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier expresses the message in many thank-you
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 the midst a COVID-19 environment, Woodcraft is eager to
support US military personnel on active duty and recovering from injuries more than ever, realizing that
being away from family now is even more stressful,” Woodcraft President and CEO
Jack Bigger said. “We look to our faithful volunteers to respond again and turn
many unique pens for the men and women who are keeping our nation safe.”
How to Participate. Like everything else in 2020,
COVID-19 is changing the way stores and volunteers participate in this annual
event. If you live near one of the 75 Woodcraft retail stores, contact the
store staff to find out if an in-store turn-a-thon event is planned or whether
the store is asking volunteers to turn pens at home and then bring them to the
store in return for a new pen kit. Visit woodcraft.com to see a list of stores
In August 2020, the Toledo, Ohio, Woodcraft store posted an invitation with a note: “We are unable to safely execute this year’s Turn for Troops event in our store. Instead, we ask that you turn pens at home and donate them by November 8, 2020. For every pen you turn and donate, we will give you a Slimline pen (WC #123052). All pens must be able to fit in a uniform sleeve pocket.”
On October 13, the store posted a Thank You with this message: “Pens are coming in, and we don’t have enough thank you’s for those who have been donating them. Keep them coming!!!! I believe we had over 200 last year. Let’s beat that number this year!”
Co-owners Ralph Duarte, left, and Chris Johnstone, right, join Roman Steichen in admiring the one-of-a-kind wood pens the Woodworkers Club/Woodcraft of Rockville, Maryland, contributed to the 2019 Woodcraft Turn for Troops program. Roman, a volunteer, does most of the hands-on work with the store’s Turn for Troops program.
“We have decided not to try to have a live event,” Woodcraft of Rockville co-owner Chris Johnstone said. “We are asking folks to turn at home or in groups they are comfortable with. We have no illusions that we will attain anywhere near the numbers we did last year, but we intend to do our best.” In 2019, Rockville volunteers turned 1,842 pens.
Woodcraft of Parkersburg, West Virginia, will host a traditional
in-store event, but will follow COVID-19 guidelines. Volunteers will be
required to wear masks and practice social distancing when they come to turn
pens on Nov. 10, 11, 13 and 14.
“We added days this year to allow more folks to come in,” Manager
Betty Secrist said, “and we’ll only have four lathes set up, as opposed to
Some volunteers turn pens year-round for this event, including the
Milwaukee Area Woodturners. David Drickhamer, who runs the Woodcraft of
Milwaukee store’s program, said in mid-October he already had 1,462 pens with
more to come.
If you do not live near a local store, your local store is not
participating, or you do not feel comfortable attending a turn-a-thon, contact
Lori Harper at Woodcraft corporate headquarters – 304-865-4107 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She will provide information and instructions
for sending finished pens to the corporate office.
Notes & Turning Instruction. Pen makers
are encouraged to include notes with their thank-you gift pens. In addition to
thanking the military man or woman for their service, notes sometimes include
the type of wood used to turn the pen and contact information for the maker.
For volunteers who need some help learning to turn a pen, some Woodcraft
stores offer pen turning classes and two Woodworking
Adventures blogs include instructions for how to turn pens – Pen Turning 101 and A Great Start for Basic Pen Turning.
pens begin arriving from the stores, Woodcraft personnel at the corporate
office check with their military contacts about where to send the new batch of
pens. Sometimes stores will suggest where to send some pens, and sometimes
military personnel will reach out to Woodcraft after reading publicity about
the annual event.
Woodturners, especially those who have participated in Turn for
Troops in the past, I encourage you to join in making TFT in the midst of
COVID-19 as successful as it has been. If you are not comfortable attending a
store event or don’t have one in your area, consider turning at home or with
someone where you can be safe. And thank you volunteers – Woodcraft could not
support the military with beautiful wood pens without you!!!
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