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A gift from another wood worker turned into an object of immortality

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Forum topic by woodenwarrior posted 270 days ago 750 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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woodenwarrior

131 posts in 796 days


270 days ago

This may be a long post so if you don’t enjoy reading, now would be a good time to move along to another post…

Okay, here’s the deal (I say this a lot, you’ll get used it): So I dropped my wife off at the airport in Kansas City and decided that since I was here I should stop into the ONLY Woodcraft store within a million miles of where I’m stationed (okay, maybe not quite a million but its a lot). As I’m drooling in my “man-toy store” I met Gary Kepko, he is one of the employees of the Woodcraft store and also the commander of the local VFW. As I was still in uniform, he immediately hit me up for being in the military and that he would give me a 10% military discount…how can you NOT want to shop in a store like that? I digress… Anyhoo, as I was checking out with my new found goodies and Gary asked me if my address was correct and where was the last place I was deployed; I told him Afghanistan. I assumed he would be sending me the usual VFW literature…. I was wrong!!!

I received in the mail today a beautiful turned rifle cartridge pen with the campaign ribbon denoting service in Afghanistan as the motif. To say the least I was blown away by his thoughtfulness!!

Here’s what I am going to do:

As a First Sergeant of a tank company, part of what I enjoy doing is creating traditions that will carry on the legacy of my Soldiers and the company. Every six months, my company goes out for the better part of three weeks to conduct tank gunnery. At gunnery, my tank crews hone and refine their tank marksmanship skills through multiple tank gunnery tables culminating with a qualification table. After their qualification gunnery table I set up what we call the “Wolves Den” ( we are D Co 1-16 Infantry…the Wolfpack). At the Wolves Den we celebrate every crew that qualifies their tank crew on the first attempt (sounds easy…its not). We glorify their achievement with cake, punch and cigars that are shared with them by the Company and Battalion leadership. Most importantly, the crews must all make their mark in the log book.

The log book is a running journal of each crew’s triumph at gunnery. It is a living document that is passed on from First Sergeant and Commander to First Sergeant and Commander. It is a documentation of the precision, discipline and excellence that each qualifying crew of the company has displayed. In the log, each crew member writes his name, position, vehicle number and any remarks they choose to include. The log is bound in black leather and is clasped with straps and buckles from worn tanker boots. It has, up to this point, been missing one crucial item…a designated writing instrument with which my Soldiers can make their mark. This is where my gifted pen comes in.

The pen I received from Gary Kepko I believe would be the perfect log book pen. It signifies both the past and present and will remain relevant to the future of the Wolfpack. It will be the official and ONLY writing instrument for the log. I am proud to be able to add this gift to the traditions of my company and hope Gary understands that the craftsmanship he has created will become immortalized in the annals of Wolfpack history for many years to come.

I needed to share this with all of you because this is what keeps me doing what I do.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda


13 replies so far

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1055 posts in 734 days


#1 posted 270 days ago

Bless you, TOP! Such a great tribute to the real craftsman that created that pen, and to you as a true leader as I’m sure you are. As a previous USAF Squadron twice, I completely depended on my First Seargents and senior NCO’s for the Outstanding achievements the squadrons contiuually received during Operational Readiness Inspections. Here’s to ya!

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9598 posts in 1220 days


#2 posted 270 days ago

Wow, great story and great tradition. Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it very much.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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HillbillyShooter

4362 posts in 894 days


#3 posted 270 days ago

Great story! Great tradition and addition to that tradition! Thank you for your service and God bless our military!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4750 posts in 1179 days


#4 posted 269 days ago

Thank you for your service and sharing a great story.

God bless our military.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15664 posts in 2820 days


#5 posted 269 days ago

Great story. Thanks!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View sras's profile

sras

3780 posts in 1731 days


#6 posted 269 days ago

What a cool story!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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bbrewer

42 posts in 577 days


#7 posted 269 days ago

Thanks for sharing and I really appreciate what you do. Awesome gifted pen and perfect use.

-- Tom southern MI

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firefighterontheside

3318 posts in 458 days


#8 posted 269 days ago

Both of you guys have set a very good example. I thank you both for your service.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2360 posts in 2344 days


#9 posted 269 days ago

Great story – they are a good bunch there in KC.
The KC woodworkers guild is also really strong, and there are great wood stores there like Metro Hardwoods, and Frank Paxton Lumber.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6915 posts in 1516 days


#10 posted 269 days ago

Wow, very nice dedication and tradition. Thanks for sharing.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View PASs's profile

PASs

557 posts in 1700 days


#11 posted 269 days ago

Great call,
Great pen,
Ahhh, Afghanistan…last and toughest tour in my career.
Keep the faith.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View scrollingmom's profile

scrollingmom

796 posts in 1066 days


#12 posted 264 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View moke's profile

moke

465 posts in 1378 days


#13 posted 263 days ago

I think your new tradition is one that not only will be enjoyed by the men, but would make the Woodcraft employee, Gary, extremely proud and a just reward for his efforts too. Thanks for your service and everyone on this site that has spent time in the Military for all the rest of us…
Mike

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