Turn For Troops

Learn how Woodcraft employees and volunteers have sent their thanks to US military men and women since 2004 by making more than 175,000 turned pens as part of our long-standing Turn for Troops program. No experience necessary - just a desire to say "thank you." 




15th Year of Turn for Troops Tops 175,000 Pens to Military



One Customer’s Story from Nashville, Tennessee

We met the Clayton’s soon after we moved to Nashville in 1979. They have been our best friends for all these years. Their two oldest daughters and our two daughters are the same age and were then in the same middle school and high school together.

Carole, their third daughter was born in 1979, and in 1981, all the Clayton’s went to Hawaii as part of a business achievement award. Well all went except Carole. At two years old they felt she was too young and she stayed the week with our family. Early in the week she had virtually nothing to do with me. She would neither talk to me nor answer my questions. Typical kid, but by the end of the week she was looking out the window each evening for my car and then announcing “hey, Mom, Dad’s home”. From that statement I have teased Carole over the years as being our third daughter.

Carole grew up, and while attending college here in Nashville, met Gavin Reinke from Pueblo, Colorado, who was stationed then at Fort Campbell, TN. They fell in love and were married in July 2000, and daughter Kayleigh was born December 26, 2002.

During their marriage Gavin had been deployed twice to Korea, and was on his second deployment to Iraq, stationed at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. On May 4, 2006, SSG Gavin Reinke gave his life while serving our country when he stopped his vehicle to help a fellow soldier in trouble. Gavin has been buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington D.C.

We were all devastated, but none more than Carole and Kayleigh, Gavin’s family and friends and the Clayton’s.

SSG Gavin Reinke’s best friend, SSG Daniel Barnes who was stationed in Iraq with Gavin was seriously injured four months later on September 4, 2006, and is now recuperating from those injuries.

While I have been woodturning many years, I had turned only one pen in all that time. The local Woodcraft Store sponsors the Turn for TROOPS program. I did not get involved in 2006, but in 2007 I decided to honor Gavin and Daniel and all those serving our country and defending our freedom. I decided I would turn 502 pens for the program, 500 for distribution to the troops serving America, with #499 to be given to SSG Daniel Barnes in Honor of his Service to our Country and #500 to Carole and Kayleigh in Honor and Memory of a husband and father, SSG Gavin Reinke, for his Service to our Country.
#499 given to SSG Daniel Barnes in Honor
#500 to Carole and Kayleigh in Honor and Memory of a husband and father, SSG Gavin Reinke

I am so pleased I became involved in Turn for TROOPS, Proud of our Troops, and want them to know how much we Americans support them. While I probably will never turn 500 pens again, I will be involved in turning them each year as long as the Turn for TROOPS program continues. I have completed turning the 502 pens and as the project deadline is Veterans Day, November 11, 2007, who knows, maybe I’ll turn a few more between now and then.

Mike Zinser
Nashville, TN

Member: Tennessee Association of Woodturners
Duck River Woodturners
Stones River Woodworkers Club
Tennessee Valley Woodworkers

Watch & Learn to Turn a Pen!


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