Woodcraft Volunteers Turn Nearly 13,000 Wood Pens for Military Personnel

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Military Pens

Military personnel who are defending the US overseas or recovering in rehabilitation centers will once again this year receive one-of-a-kind wood pens – thank-you gifts made during the 12th Woodcraft Turn for Troops National Turn-a-Thon in November.

Woodcraft is happy to report that 12,909 unique pens have been sent to the men and women who are defending American freedom, often in harm’s way,” Woodcraft president Jody Garrett said. “The Woodcraft corporate staff extends a heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of volunteer turners and store staff members who made this outreach to servicemen and women possible.”

Since the National Turn-a-Thon began 12 years ago, volunteers have turned a total of 132,398 pens for military personnel.

A National Turn-a-Thon participant at the Columbus, Ohio, Woodcraft store turns his very first pen in the collage photo shown here

For the fifth consecutive year, in 2015 Woodcraft of Tucson, Arizona, led participating stores in total pens turned – 3,149. Woodcraft of Grand Rapids, Michigan, had the second highest total – 2,165, and Woodcraft of Nashville, Tennessee, had the third highest number – 1,647.

The Woodcraft corporate staff extends a heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of volunteer turners and store staff members who made this outreach to servicemen and women possible.” – Jody Garrett, Woodcraft president

Woodcraft of Tucson also leads stores in the overall number of pens turned since the event began – 14,378, and Woodcraft of Nashville has the second highest total – 13,218.  Woodcraft of Boise, Idaho, has the third highest overall total – 12,638.

Tucson Woodcraft's "Secret"
When asked how Woodcraft of Tucson has managed to contribute the most turned pens for five years, store owner Randy Castellini said, “Our secret is an awesome group of woodturners, the Southern Arizona Woodturners Association, and Stan Ries, a retired veteran and member of the group who directs the pen turning effort.”

“Our pen turning program has turned out to be a year-round effort,” Castellini said. “Club members and other volunteer turners produce about 100 pens every couple of weeks, so by National Turn-a-Thon time our volunteers have produced around 3,000 special pens for our troops.”

To learn more about pen turning at Woodcraft of Tucson, click on the video below to view Castellini’s interview on a local television station earlier this year.

Military Pens

Nashville Volunteers Reach 100 Mark in Pens for Troops

More than 50 woodturners from three local clubs, along with a few other volunteers, participated in the 2015 Turn for Troops National Turn-a-Thon at the Nashville, Tennessee, Woodcraft.

Five turners reached or passed the 100-pen mark: Tom Prohaska, Bobby Creighton, John Oxley, Dennis Beadle and Mike Zinser. Zinser has turned more than 1,500 pens for troops in the past 12 years, including 183 this year. 

Prohaska posted a photo (seen here) of his 100-pen contribution on Facebook. In response to a Facebook friend’s praise for his pens, Prohaska wrote: “I am happy to be making them because I can, even as a disabled vet.”

Military Pens

Memories - A Pen Gift Bonus

A soldier stationed in Germany wrote one of the first thank-you notes for a pen turned this year: “A number of us here received some of the pens that you guys sent out for ‘Turn for Troops.’ I just wanted to say thank you. As someone who enjoys turning pens, and not having access to a woodshop that allows me to turn pens, I especially appreciate you sending these out for us. Turning pens helped me in the past destress after a deployment. It’s something that I enjoy, and look forward to doing again. While some people may see a nice turned, wood pen, I see and think of the great memories I have turning my own pens. Thank you for that. On behalf of all of us, thank you for the great pens!”


Stop by your local Woodcraft store to learn how to turn a pen or to volunteer your time for the next Turn for Troops event in your area. We hope you’ll be inspired!

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