Woodcraft making pens for Purple Heart recipients

PARKERSBURG – Turning purpleheart blanks into pens for Purple Heart Medal recipients is the latest Woodcraft project to benefit U.S. military personnel.

For the past nine years Woodcraft customers and employees have been turning wooden pens on or near Veterans Day to send to military personnel on active duty overseas and in rehabilitation facilities and hospitals as thank-you gifts. To date, 97,717 pens have been turned in the Turn for Troops program.

At 1 p.m. today, volunteer turners at the Parkersburg Woodcraft will be “on duty” again, this time turning purpleheart wood into pens to be presented to military personnel who receive the distinguished Purple Heart Medal.

The Purpleheart/Purple Heart project is the brainchild of Military Chaplain Mike McCawley, one of Woodcraft’s contacts for distributing the Turn for Troops pens. When he was given choice purpleheart wood it sparked the idea for “purpleheart pens for Purple Heart recipients.”

Because he needed help with turning the wood into pens, he contacted Woodcraft. Woodcraft agreed to help and organized the Saturday turning event, as well as spreading the word about McCawley’s idea.

Area woodturners are welcome to join in the purpleheart turning event.

Dating back to the Revolutionary War, the Badge of Military Merit or Decoration of the Purple Heart was established by order of Gen. George Washington on Aug. 7, 1782, at Newburg-on-the-Hudson, N.Y. No awards were presented after the end of the war, but it was revived by presidential order in 1932.

Initially those eligible for the award included any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Forces after April 5, 1917, was wounded, killed, or died or might thereafter die of wounds received in one of the following circumstances:

* In action against an enemy of the United States.

* In action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged.

* While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

* As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces.

* As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force.

Later amendments added eligibility in other circumstances such as international terrorist attacks, military peacekeeping operations outside the U.S., friendly fire incidents and being held a prisoner of war, as well as removing eligibility for civilians.