The Good News
Pg 4 - The Sunshine Express
A Shabby Chic ¡®Thank You¡¯
A sense of community and patriotism
helps a local chapter grow
Grand Valley Woodturners (GVWT), a big name
for a club consisting of a small group of wood-
turners who share a passion for turning wood into
works of art.
We grew because of this passion and a desire to
make a difference. In the beginning, the group
met at members¡¯ shops in small town Cedaredge
in western Colorado. Several turners from nearby
Grand Junction made the 45 min. drive to join the
Cedaredge group. As the membership grew, a Gr
Jct member offered to host on alternate months.
This soon became the primary meeting place.
In 2007, the club began meeting in Grand Junction
every month, a start towards becoming an ¡®official¡¯
club. We joined the AAW in 2008 with only 12
Community Activities: The new club became
involved in educating others about woodturning
and started growing with new members. Activ-
ites included demonstrations at the local library
for other clubs and all day demonstrations at
the Mesa County Fair, where turned tops were
given to children. We accepted donations for the
Hospice in Grand Jct. and members also donated
turned items for local charitable events. Slowly the
GVWT was getting noticed in the community.
Eagle Cane Project: Our fledgling club was look-
ing for a meaningful way to give more to the com-
munity, when president, Keith Kollasch, brought
to our attention an article about a club in Oklaho-
ma and their Eagle Cane project, which provided
eagle head canes to veterans. It didn¡¯t take much
discussion to decide that this is a project that
members could get behind. We needed help with
carving the eagle heads, and fortunately, 2 mem-
bers were carvers and belonged to local carving
clubs. In a joint effort, the carving groups agreed
to provide the carved heads.
Thus began GVWT¡¯s Eagle Cane Project. After ad-
vice from the Oklahoma group, the club decided
to provide canes to disabled veterans, regardless
of when they served. To end up with a manage-
able number, the group would accept applications
and present canes to veterans whose home state
was Colorado. With the help of my wife, Betty, I
spearheaded the project. I am a wood carver and
a woodturner, and I hosted club meetings from
2007-2012. With everyone working with enthusi-
asm, we presented canes all over the state.
The Canes: Club members individually turn each
cane, which is personalized with the recipients
name, years of service, rank, unit, and military
branch. I assemble them and also add a transi-
tion ring of purple heart for recipients who have
received a purple heart. Betty and I keep track of
all the applications and do the set up for presenta-
tions. Each cane is presented with a card contain-
ing the recipients name and military information.
Betty creates a memory page for each recipient
that includes a picture, duplicate info card, the
recipients home town, and other pertinent info.
The 75+ locally owned businesses at the Shabby
Chic¡¯ Boutiques in Grand Junction wanted to
make time and take this opportunity, to thank all
of those who have blessed us this year. You¡¯ve
shopped local, thus keeping many of your neigh-
bors working and for that we are so grateful. You
have stopped in just to say hello when you are in
the area, making us feel like your neighbor. When
you have family or friends that come to visit, you
bring them to Shabby Chic¡¯ as ¡°one of the things
to do and places to go¡± while they are in the area.
This makes us feel like an extended member of
your family. For all of those things we are grateful
and want to take this opportunity to say ¡°thank
you¡± to each of you.
One of the things at the top of most everyone¡¯s
list of things to be grateful for is our freedom.
Witnessing several of our veterans being awarded
their canes from the Woodturners group (see
¡®Meet the Woodturners¡¯ article above) and host-
ing a reception for them at the store, has brought
an all new appreciation to those who have fought
for the freedoms that we enjoy each and everyday.
One veteran¡¯s words will never be forgotten as he
tearfully said, ¡°This is the first time I¡¯ve been told
thank you,¡± when he received his cane. Hearing
that reminds each of us that witnessed it, to never
forget to say thank you.
Today we still have many men and women who
continue to keep us safe as we enjoy those beauti-
ful drives, camping trips and family gatherings.
However, at many of those family gatherings there
will be an empty chair that either waits to be filled
by a returning soldier, or that will remain empty
forever. We are eternally grateful for both and for
those family¡¯s that sit around those tables next to
an empty chair.
To remind each of us about those empty chairs
we at the Shabby Chic¡¯ will have an empty chair
set up at the store during the months of Nov.
and Dec. We would like to invite the western
slope community to ¡®make time¡¯ to bring in non-
perishable items like toothbrushes, soap, lotion,
chap stick, hard candy, etc. that will be sent to the
troops through Operation Interdependence*. Each
package sent to a soldier always has a note inside.
Please make some time to sit down with your fam-
ily and friends around your table and write down
a few words, or have the children simply draw
a picture (a picture is worth a thousand words).
We invite teachers to have their class write cards.
Something so simple from each of us will mean so
much to each of them.
Our motto at Shabby Chic¡¯ is ¡°Alone we can do
so little ~ together we can do so much,¡± by Helen
Keller. It is amazing the insight she had. Join us
today as ¡®together we do so much¡¯ to express our
gratitude for all of those who filled those empty
chairs this special season. Gratefully, Your neigh-
bors at Shabby Chic¡¯ Boutiques
* Items and cards may be dropped off at Shabby
Chic¡¯ Boutiques, 2586 Patterson Road, Grand Jct,
Mon thru Sat, 9:30a to 5:30p, 970.314.7278.
(Connie Ferguson, CWPromotions & Shabby Chic)
She places these in an ongoing album. Currently, a
3rd album is in the works.
Veterans from WWII and other wars share stories
that even family members have not heard; reciev-
ing the cane brought back memories. The present-
ers watched tears form in veterans and family
members eyes as veterans were recognized for
Time and again, club members felt tears in their
own eyes, as they watched the emotional effect
this gift had. Honoring veterans in Colorado was
the right community project.
Local Media Attention: After articles in news-
papers and a few presentations on television,
GVWTs were kept busy taking applications and
making canes. The local living museum published
an article on the project that was distributed to
several states. The response was overwhelming,
and soon, GVWT could not keep up with requests.
The club adopted new guidlines [saying that]
only applications from western Colorado veter-
ans would be accepted. After a presentation of
more than 20 canes at one time, the GVWT, Grand
Valley Wood Carvers, and Black Canyon Wood
Carvers, knew that they had grown beyond what
they could handle. The 3 clubs lobbied the newly
formed turning group in Montrose to join forces
with their carving group and take over Montrose
County and the surrounding area. The Montrose
group took up the challenge and started making
and presenting canes in 2012. There are now 2
groups providing Eagle Head canes for veterans
of western Colorado. The Grand Valley club alone
has presented 221 canes. With every presentation,
club members¡¯ hearts fill with pride. As patriotism
grew, so did the club.
New Club Activities: Changes were afoot in
2012. Club president, Fred Pahler, helped set
up GVWT¡¯s first demonstration and class with
professional turner, David Ellsworth. As member-
ship outgrew my shop, Fred and the board, found
a new location, The Mesa County Fairgrounds,
where the club held it¡¯s 1st meeting in Jan 2013.
Additionally, the club purchased a lathe and tools
for demonstrations. The love of wood and wood
turning brought this club together; community
service and patriotis helped it grow. The GVWT
brought multiple clubs together and created a net-
work of woodturners and wood carvers who are
making a difference in Western Colorado.
(Buck Taylor is the Treasurer of Grand Valley
Wood Turners in Grand Junction)
Meet The Woodturners
During the month of November, we take time
out, above all other times of the year, to be thank-
ful. We take drives to see the beautiful colors God
has painted the earth. We take time out for that
final fishing or camping trip. We take time to get
together with family and friends for Thanksgiving
dinner. Instead of ¡®take time¡¯, more appropriately,
the words should be ¡®make time¡¯. We all have the
same amount of time in each and every day, it¡¯s
simply how we choose to make that time count.