Since initiating its Turn for Troops National Turn-a-Thon in 2003, Woodcraft has sent 106,262 hand-turned wooden pens to American service personnel on active duty or in rehabilitation facilities in the US.

Customers and employees of the nationwide stores volunteer each Veteran’s Day weekend to craft the handmade gifts. In 2013, Woodcraft celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Turn-a-Thon, with 11,124 pens created during the event.

After crafting the pens, volunteer turners use them just once—to write a personal note thanking the troops for their service.

And very often, the troops will use the pens to send thank-you notes back to Woodcraft. One Marine gunnery sergeant wrote: “As I sit here in the sand of Afghanistan looking at one of the pens crafted in support of the troops, I have an overwhelming sense of support. To think that someone took the time to craft a token of appreciation has really made my day. Thank you!”

To participate in the Turn for Troops program, volunteers can contact their nearest Woodcraft store for more information. Instructional courses are available the day of the event. Many stores have also started holding Turn-a-Thons not only around Veterans Day, but at other times throughout the year.

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