One of the missions of the Woodworkers of Central New York is to contribute to the community in which we live, practice our craft, and enjoy. Supporting the men and women who protect us through their service in the United States Military is one of our worthy projects. How do we do it? By participating in the annual Turn for Troops program sponsored by Woodcraft.
There is no Woodcraft store in Syracuse so individual members turn groups of pens in their shops. Sometimes the club sponsors a weekend workshop for members to turn their pens in a group setting. Woodcraft generously donates the pen kits and wood. Woodcraft sends materials to our club coordinators, Larry Prunotto and Ted Kleege. Larry & Ted package and distribute the materials for members spread out throughout Central New York and then receive the complete pens for repackaging and shipping to Woodcraft. Some members create and donate pens from kits and wood they own.
Participation in this program by our members over the years is steady, even during Covid. In 2021, we allocated 10 of the pen kits provided by Woodcraft to a new turning program at the local veterans-support organization called Clear Path for Veterans. The pens were turned and kept by the veterans themselves as a direct donation.
In 2022, the club received 350 kits to support the 2022 effort produced our largest contribution to date - 417 pens! This brings our 9-year contribution to 2500 pens. Photos of the donations for 2022, including a special one showing our 2500th pen are below. To see photos of pens from some of the earlier years, please go here.
Even before we shipped our completed pens to Woodcraft in 2023, we received the following letter from a recipient of one of our pens.
I was passed one of your hand-crafted pens on my recent deployment in Kuwait and was very delighted. I enjoy crafting many of my own things by hand and this pen has been one of my favorite items to have received on a deployment. Along with the pen I received a business card with these to emails and I wanted to first send a heart felt thank you to whom crafted the pen and ensure you know that your work is greatly enjoyed. I also would like to see how I could go about ordering a few more for my Soldiers currently here that I work with regularly. Can you please provide me the cost and estimated time it may take to ship? I would only need 40 pens to provide my section with one each. Please do not worry if this is not something you can do, I just felt it was worth asking and again thank you for what you did send, I will enjoy it as it reminds me of my shop and hand crafted projects.
As a result, we shipped40 of our completed pens directly to the solider for distribution to his group. See photo collage below of pens shipped.
** Forty (40) pens out of the 414 were shipped directly to Kuwait for direct distribution to colleagues of a solider who received a pen previously.
* Ten (10) of our pens allocated for 2021 were donated to a turning program at Clear Path for Veterans where the veterans themselves turned the pens and then kept the pens rather than shipping back to Woodcraft. Also, two pens "blew out" during production.
Thanks to Woodcraft for their photos used to enhance this webpage