Woodcraft Turn for Troops Event Hits 20th Year Milestone with 250,000 Pens

Volunteers of all ages, like this young lady at the Columbus, Ohio, Woodcraft store, have created pens for the troops.

More than 250,000 handcrafted wooden pens have been collected over the last 20 years for US service members and veterans as part of Woodcraft’s Turn for Troops program. Since 2004, Woodcraft retail stores across the country have provided space, materials and instruction for volunteers to send their thanks to the troops by way of wooden pens made on the lathe. No experience is necessary to participate.

The national turn-a-thon takes place over the weekend before Veterans Day, but some stores and woodturning groups hold events throughout the year.

A total of 13,692 pens were turned and donated for 2023, making the 20-year total more than a quarter of a million: 250,131.

“We are thrilled to have so many dedicated volunteers and employees who have helped achieve this huge milestone for our military men and women,” said Beth Coffey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Saying Thanks

Boxes of pens from store events, turning clubs and individuals are sent to the Woodcraft corporate warehouse in Parkersburg, W. Va., to await distribution. Turners are encouraged to include handwritten notes with their pens for the recipients, who may be serving their country far from home, utilizing rehabilitation centers, or visiting veterans’ facilities.

In 2023, troops and veterans from many points across the globe, including Egypt, South Korea, parts of the Middle East, and military bases in the US, received tokens of thanks from this program. 

Notes like this one from a deployed Air Force member confirm this program’s value: “Each of the pens were beautiful and it was exciting to see the unique qualities of each one. The team was ecstatic to receive them. Everywhere I go, I see people using them. It has really helped boost our team’s morale.”

Stores Leading the Way

The top contributing store for 2023 was Tucson with 2,319 pens submitted. The Tucson store has been in the top five of the company tally since 2010, capturing #1 a total of nine times. It also claims the #1 overall title with 30,819 pens total.

Store owner Randy Castellini credits the Southern Arizona Woodturners Association with the success of the store initiative. “The blend of our active local turning club and the fact that many of them are also veterans really sparks our group to do their best every year,” he said.

Four other stores contributed more than 1,000 pens each this year: Rockville (1,261), Nashville (1,167), Milwaukee (1,067) and Chattanooga (1,037).

Since the program’s inception, four retail locations other than Tucson have produced note-worthy totals of 10,000 pens and up: Nashville (24,326), Grand Rapids (23,515), Boise (22,197) and San Carlos (13,264).

Pen Requests

Woodcraft receives requests for pens throughout the year, ranging in number from a pen or two up into the thousands. Military personnel, families and individuals often reach out to Woodcraft after reading publicity about the annual event. Inquires can be directed to lori_harper@woodcraft.com.

To see photos from store turn-a-thons and more information about the 2023 Turn for Troops event, read the Woodcraft blog.

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

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