Woodcraft Turn for Troops Volunteers Exceed 2020 Pen Total

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Adele Tatten makes a pen at Woburn Woodcraft

Ten-year-old Adele Tatten turns a pen at Woodcraft of Woburn, Massachusetts, with her grandfather, “Papa” John Santoro.

A total of 14,703 unique wood pens are waiting to be distributed to active duty and recovering members of the US military, thanks to the efforts of Woodcraft Turn for Troops volunteer pen turners who exceeded the 2020 pen total by 697 pens. The overall 18-year total is now 219,970.

“We are once again thrilled with the results of the 2021 Turn for Troops program,” Woodcraft President and CEO Jack Bigger said. “Congratulations to Woodcraft stores and volunteers who turned the fourth highest number of pens since Woodcraft launched the program for military men and women in 2004.”

Woodcraft corporate office personnel check periodically with their contacts around the globe for assistance in identifying military personnel to receive these unique thank-you gifts. Stores also receive requests, and sometimes a service member or a family member will contact Woodcraft asking about pens. To request that pens be sent to active duty or recovering military members, contact Lori Harper in the Woodcraft corporate office: (304) 865-4107 or lori_harper@woodcraft.com

Volunteers range in age from children to senior citizens. Younger turners this year included Adele Tatten, 10, who turned her first pen at Woodcraft in Woburn, Massachusetts, with instruction from her grandfather, John Santoro, a store employee and experienced woodworker (see photo). She and other volunteers turned 474 pens to bring the store’s overall total to 4,600.

According to Beth Nadeau, Adele’s mother, the fifth grader has assisted her Papa with small projects on occasion in his workshop. “Even as a toddler, she would do sanding for him or watch from a safe distance while wearing her safety goggles and ear protection,” Nadeau said. “Since 2020, around age 9, she has been learning to turn on the lathe. Her Papa is a great teacher, and very patient.”

Adele has already turned a second pen, with a surprise from Papa – a snake pen clip (she has a pet snake named Juniper), and she is eagerly looking forward to learning to turn larger pieces like bowls.

Top 4 Stores in 2021

#1 Tucson, Arizona, 2,189Tucson takes the #1 spot for the second year in a row, its 7th time holding the spot in 18 years (5-year streak from 2011-2014). 
#2 Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1,739 – Grand Rapids has been a Top 4 store since 2014, moving up to #2 from #3 in 2020 (and #1 in 2018 and 2019).
#3 Cleveland, Ohio, 1,449 – Cleveland made its first appearance in the Top 4.
#4 Boise, Idaho, 1,272 – Boise has been in the Top 4 every single year.

Turn for Troops Nashville Woodcraft

Nashville Woodcraft employee Stan Shoemake, left, observes a volunteer turning a wood pen during the store’s Turn for Troops Turn-a-Thon.

Other Top Store Totals – 500-1,000

#5 Chattanooga, Tennessee, 995
#6 Rockville, Maryland, 965
#7 Knoxville, Tennessee, 913
#8 San Carlos, California, 824
#9 Nashville, Tennessee, 620

Top Overall Store Totals

Stores in the top 4 overall remain unchanged from 2020.

#1 Tucson topped 26,000 with a total of 26,203.
#2 Nashville added another 1,020 to its total, bringing it to 21,858.
#3 Grand Rapids exceeded 20,000 with a total of 20,960.
#4 Boise also exceeded 20,000 with a total of 20,050.
#5 San Carlos at 11,978 is nearing 12,000, and is the only other store with over 10,000.

Jake Bondi, Navy Aircraft Mechanic, Airman, took time out to join volunteer turners at the Virginia Beach Woodcraft. Bondi’s parents, Andrew and Audrey, work in the Woodcraft corporate office.

Woodcraft of Clearwater, Florida, posted this photo on Facebook of young turner Liam holding his pen and note to go with it: “Thank you for your service. Made by Liam.”

Individual and Group Volunteers

Woodcraft lost a faithful volunteer in June when Nial J. Hadden Sr. of Fredonia, New York, passed away. Like some other turners and turning groups, Hadden made pens throughout the year. At the time of his passing, Nial had turned 60 pens for 2021.

Nial’s son Lee turned another 10 pens, bringing Nial’s overall total to 1,230. In his note to Woodcraft, Lee wrote: “It brought him great joy and a sense of purpose in his retired years. He always referred to it as his ‘military order.’ I finished his last ‘military order’ and sent it. I know he would have wanted it completed.”

Other volunteers and the number of pens they submitted include:

The Villages Woodworkers Club in Florida, 440 pens (2,695 overall).
New Mexico Woodturners based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 209 pens.
Old Country Guild of Woodturners in the Albany, New York area, 180 pens (230 overall).
Algoma, Wisconsin, School District, 20 pens.
•William Cowan of Fort Pierce, Florida, 10 pens.

Although Woodcraft sponsors the Turn for Troops Turn-a-Thon around Veterans Day, pens are distributed year-round. Pens have been shipped to Afghanistan, South Korea, Kuwait, Germany, Nigeria, Romania and Niger, covering all military branches and the National Guard. Woodcraft has also sent pens to several US military ships: USS George H.W. Bush, USS Lassen, USS Bataan and USS Tripoli.

For more information about Woodcraft, please contact the Woodcraft store nearest you, visit Woodcraft.com or call (800) 535-4482. Click here to learn more about Woodcraft franchise opportunities or email woodcraftfranchise@woodcraft.com. Follow Woodcraft on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest.

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