Turning Archive 2005

Pens for Canadian Peacekeepers, pics

Jim Shaver - Oakville, Ontario

This post is to tell you a little bit about a project I began last fall. I had completed a Craft Sale and I thought I needed to do something meaningful with my profits, after all for me, selling things I make on the lathe has little to do with money and more to do with making people happy. I sold a good number of pens at that sale and I had some left over. I remembered an American initiative that I saw on the internet, it was co lead by Keith Outten at the Saw Mill Creek Forum.

I emailed Keith and then we later spoke, I told him I had a few pens to send him. I spoke to him about his project and the support that he had helped to gain for the project all across the US. I mailed off a few pens to support his effort in thanks for his help.

I guess during the course of our conversation a light went on in my head, “why not do this for Canadian Armed Forces men and women who are on peacekeeping missions around the world”…it’s what Canada does.

I then placed a few phone calls through to a number of Armed Forces bases and finally ended up speaking with a lady named Shirley Penny in National Defense in Ottawa. I told Shirley that I wanted to send pens out to Canadians on peacekeeping missions, could she help? She was delighted and told me she would send them where ever I wanted them to go, she would be my eyes and help make this happen.

Well that phone call was 45 pens ago, so far she has helped me get pens to men and women in Sierra Leone and Kabul Afghanistan. I was even able through Shirley’s help to get one to General Romeo Dallaire. Each pen is wrapped in a letter telling the person as a Canadian how proud I am of them and of the commitment they have made to Canada and the world in what they do. We Canadians seldom celebrate our forces here, it’s something we silently think of but I felt the need to reach out and make an effort to say thank you to each of these people.

What has happened since then has been incredible. I have received emails and photographs from the recipients, their words are so filled with pride and thanks, it makes me feel so good in knowing I was able to find a way to say thank you to them, they are so unbelievably grateful. Their words are filled with hope and resolve, they believe in what they do and are grateful to be acknowledged.

So why am I telling you about my project, well it’s simple I guess. In each and every day there is a way to give back, say “thank you” to some one for the unselfish things they do for us, people we take for granted. What you will receive in return maybe little, maybe it will be great, but the effort is what is important. I guess I am an idealist, but any act of kindness in a simple way, once a day, can reach out and make this a better place to be. For me right now, it’s our peacekeepers…..and I hope to continue to send out pens as I can.

I continue to be able to sell my work, which in turn keeps this going. To look at my lathe now, I don’t see a machine, but rather a way to reach out and say thanks to incredible Canadians out there doing the hard work of peacekeeping with the Maple Leaf on their heart.

I am indebted to a few people for their support, they know who they are.

A Pen in Sierra Leone

A “Tim” Break

On Patrol in Kabul


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