|August 1, 2006|
As my attached letter alludes, I am very impressed and thankful for your "Pens for Canadian Peacekeepers" Project. It is very admirable that you have committed your time and craftsmanship to support us in Afghanistan and other areas of unrest throughout the world. This is my third tour in the last five years, and the public support that we have seen in the past few years has increased dramatically. I credit initiatives such as yours for this positive and welcomed change.
Capt (name withheld by request)
|August 20, 2006|
One of your beautiful walnut pens has just reached the hands of our son, Maj. K.B. Brooks, OC ESU / TF RADSO TFA HQ, Kandahar, Afganistan. He has forwarded via email a picture of the pen and a copy of your accompanying letter. Not only has your pen found a place in his day, it has found a permanent place in his heart and in the hearts of his mother, Carol, and I.
Thank you, Jim, for "what you do!" - and, for what you have already done!!! Fellow Canadians like you, make parents like us, feel just a little more comfortable knowing that so much pride, and so many prayers are directed toward our sons and daughters, by so many grateful and loving neighbours throughout our great country.
May God Bless you and yours, Jim.
Carol and Wayne Brooks
proud parents and Canadians
|August 17, 2006|
Good Morning Jim,
My name is Major Ken Brooks. I am an Airfield Engineering officer currently stationed at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. As the Officer Commanding the Engineer Support Unit, I am responsible for constructing and maintaining all of the Canadian-owned infrastructure here at Kandahar, as well as our other locations throughout Afghanistan.
Before I selected your pen and read your note, I was unaware of the "Pens for Canadian Peacekeepers" program. Let me say that I think that it is an absoultely wonderful idea and I greatly appreciate you taking the time not only to craft such a wonderful piece, but to take the time to pen such a heart-warming and positive note as that which you have. I have only been in Afghansitan a short period of time (I am just starting my tour), but reading a letter such as yours reitifies the importance of my being here.
Be assured that your pen will be put to good use. As an "administrator", the pen that you have crafted will be used to sign many important documents. Documents, such as multi-million dollar construction contracts, that will be put in place to better the lives of the Canadian troops that are over here. The wood in this pen will end up doing a job that is a far cry from its original intent as a gun stock, but it will be doing a job that is no less important.
Please feel free to respond to this e-mail address at your leisure. Notes from Canada are always a welcome surprise.
Again, thank you for being part of this program, and thank you for your support. Cheers.
K.B. (Ken) Brooks
Engineer Support Unit
Task Force Afghanistan HQ
|1 August 2006|
Dear Mr Shaver
I wanted to write you a letter of thanks for the wonderful pens you sent for our soldiers over here in Afghanistan. I was thrilled to select one of your pens when they arrived and you can be sure that our soldiers were equally delighted. I am a battalion commander over here in Kandahar. I command the logistics battalion known as the National Support Element. I have been here since February and I should be home on leave in Ontario by the end of this month.
I am a bit of an amateur pen aficionado and I was delighted by the wonderful workmanship of your handmade pens. You should know that having such a fine pen drop in my lap from afar absolutely made my day. You are a very talented artisan. I was particularly intrigued by the story of the walnut wood and how it actually came from a Rifle Factory in Toronto. As a career Army Officer I enjoyed also reading about your grandfathers and your father.
Thanks you so much for thinking about us and brightening our days in Kandahar. I have never heard of the Pens For Peacekeepers group but I will educate myself more completely when I get access to the Internet. You and your group certainly made a difference to us!
TFA National Support Element
|1 August 2006|
I am now into the last month of my six-month tour in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It has been a very busy six months, however, that only makes the time go by faster so everyone appreciates the tempo. We have accomplished much, however, as everyone is aware this has not come without a cost. Given this, your support and the support of the Canadian public is even more critical to this mission.
Approximately one month ago I saw a soldier using one of your pens. Since then I've kept my eyes opened hoping to find someone who is selling these pens. A couple of days ago I was speaking to another colleague who had received one of your pens as well. When I asked him about it, he showed me the pen and the story that accompanied it. Your craftsmanship is phenomenal, a rare gift. The story indicated that the walnut wood originated from a workshop near Toronto that was used to construct rifles during WWII. Both are equally impressive!
To be here, separated from our family and friends for six months is difficult. Knowing that Canadians at home support us in this mission is very important and helps us realize the importance of the sacrifice we are making. The time and skill that you have committed to your "pen for Canadian peacekeepers" project is commendable and much appreciated by all soldiers, not only those that are lucky enough to receive this gift.
Thanks from a proud soldier,
Task Force Afghanistan Headquarters
Op ARCHER Roto One
My name is Dave Holden and I am presently serving in the Sudan. Larry Ryder gave me one of your pens and I just wanted to personally thank you for the kind gesture. Your support is very much appreciated.
Dear Mr. Shaver,
My apologies for not writing to you much sooner, but I would like to offer my thanks to you for your thoughtful gift of a lovely, hand crafted pen. It was very much appreciated, and I especially enjoyed the letter that accompanied it. It is nice to be recognized and appreciated by a fellow Canadian, especially one who has taken the time to write and to put a personal touch - not to mention considerable skill - towards the recognition of unknown peacekeepers halfway round the world.
Your gift has reached an Infantry Officer who is nearing completion of his fourth United Nations mission. I will soon be returning to my assignment in Denmark, where I command a multinational peacekeeping brigade, of which Canada is a contributing nation. I am extremely proud to have served Canada at home and abroad for the past 35 years, and it was an honour to serve one more time on a UN peacekeeping mission one more time before retirement and a return to Canada next year.
Our UN mission in Sudan consists of 10,000 troops from 53 nations whose job it is to monitor and verify the peace agreement reached earlier this year between the parties to a very protracted civil war that carried on for the past two decades and cost the live of two million people.
The Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen who are serving alongside me here in the Sudan are from all across Canada. They are French and English Canadians, Regular and Reserve, young and old, including some first generation Canadians. Many have served in other missions around the world, in Iran/Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Cyprus, Golan Heights, etc. For some this is their very first peacekeeping mission.
Regardless, all are fiercely proud of Canada and of the firm commitment our nation maintains to the betterment of those less fortunate than ourselves, whether their misfortune is due to violent conflict or natural disaster. We have learned to appreciate Canada all the more after our experience in this part of the world where the people are wonderful and welcoming, but where life is brutal, harsh and short. Hopefully, through our presence here, and through the generosity of Canadians at home, we are contributing to the security the Sudanese so desperately need and deserve, and that we are making a small difference in their lives.
Sir, I thank you once again for your thoughtfulness, and I truly hope I have the pleasure of crossing paths with you one day.
Warmest regards to you and your family, from a fellow Canadian.
Brigadier-General Gregory B. Mitchell
Deputy Force Commander
United Nations Mission in Sudan
|Sept 26, 2005|
This is Cpl Grant from Kandahar, Afghanistan, I am from Calgary originally but am now posted to Ottawa, and I am in the Signals Branch. I am writing you this email to just say thank you very much for the Pen that you sent. I felt very lucky to have been one of the people that got one. It is quite a beautiful pen, by far the best one that I have ever owned and I use it for writing in my journal everyday to my special girl at home. It is really nice to see that people appreciate what we are doing here and I thank you again for the nice thought and gift.
Thomas Grant (Cpl)
|Sept 20, 05|
Hello Mr. Shaver,
I'm currently deployed in Kandahar with the Canadian PRT, and I recently received one of your pens. It's hard to describe just how much it means to us to know there are Canadians like you out there who support us, but it really does have a profound impact on us. Thank you very much for the support, it definitely helps keep us going when times are rough. Keep up the good work!
Cpl, PRT Kandahar
|Sept 20, 05|
Dear Mr Shaver,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of my two soldiers who were each lucky enough to get one of your finely crafted pens. Although you say it is a "small token", it is not very often that our soldiers recieve gifts of gratitude from ordinary Canadians back home, and this is something which allows them to know that their duty accomplishments, and their time away from family and friends is recognized by the country they serve.
So that you are aware, the pens which my section received were awarded to our junior soldiers: Corporal Roger Korus and Corporal Thomas Grant . Both of them are on their first operational deployment and are very proud to have received your gift.
Again, I laud your efforts and wish you the best of fortune for the future. Your small tokens have a larger impact on morale than you might know. Thank you very much.
OC Canadian PRT All Source Intelligence Cell
Op ARCHER Kandahar Airfield
|Sept 1, 05|
Dear Mr Shaver
I wanted to write and thank you for the pen that you made and had sent over to us in Kandahar. I was given one today and it is beautiful (Zebra Wood) and it writes wonderfully! Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.
I was touched by your accompanying letter. We are proud to be serving our country and our fellow Canadians and, to feel the support of people like yourself makes this experience particularly rewarding. Your words and your thoughts have found a special place in my day.
May God Bless and Protect you too Sir,
SEK (Stephen) Borland
D Comd/COS PRT
I just wanted to thank you very much for the pen that I received from you. It is beautiful.
It is really great to have your support. I am currently serving in Kandahar Afghanistan with the Provincial Reconstruction team I have been here since late July. I am a Finance and Contracting officer so the pen is really handy for me.
I hope that you and your family have a great Labour day long weekend.
Provincial Reconstruction Team
Dear Mr. Shaver,
I received a very special gift from you today and would like to say thank you for thinking of the Canadian military men and women serving here in Afghanistan. Your pen is very much appreciated not only because it is so unique but also because I am a clerk who always has a need for a handy pen. I will always think of your generosity whenever I use it.
Your message spoke of the separation we experience from our loved ones. This is true but we also experience a separation from our own country. Being here makes us appreciate our freedoms and conveniences more than we would ever consider at home. Safety and security is always considered when doing anything in Afghanistan as that is the focus of the mission for both the many nations serving here at Camp Julien and the surrounding area where we are based. Slowly we are making a difference throughout Afghanistan which we believe will have a positive effect for all Afghanistan especially the younger generations who have already endured a lifetime of sorrow.
This is my first tour away from home. Much of what I've experienced while here in Afghanistan has been a learning experience, thus receiving your pen and letter has been one more. I've learned that certain Canadians take the time to connect with us while away and more than that, we are remembered especially at a time of year when we could have easily been forgotten. Thank you for thinking of us during this past holiday season.
Happy New Year and may you find peace in 2005.
Op ATHENA Roto 2
My name is Major (removed for privacy) or as the locals call me Hugeman and I am deployed here to the southern most province of Sierra Leone called Pujehun on a six month assignment from Dec 04 to Jun 05.
I have just received one of the pen which you have so thoughtfully hand crafted and sent to us peacekeepers here in Africa. I have to say, regardless of the corporate donations that are sent to us, nothing touches the heart like a personal gift such as yours. The pen will remain in my pocket each and every day as a reminder that not only am I proud to be a peacekeeper but that there are Canadians out there who are proud of what we do as well.
I have served in the Canadian Forces as an Artillery officer for almost 25 years and during that time served in many different operational environments and never have I received a personal gift such as this. I know my wife and my daughters are proud of what I do and I know sometimes their sacrifice of having me away from home is sometimes a great burden for them. I am sure they too will appreciate that there are other Canadians who believe in what we do. Being the only Canadian for miles around your pen gives me bragging rights to every other nation here that the people of Canada love us. You and your family make me proud to be a Canadian
Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers
Thank you so very much for your gracious gift. Your pen will be put to good use every day, as I'm a clerk. To use a quote "The pen is mightier than the sword", is true and fortunately for us here we haven't had to use the sword.
Not to worry though it will not only be used for work but for writing letters to family and friends back home that you had mentioned in your letter. They too have made sacrifices along with other Canadians and fellow soldiers, in enabling us to carry on with our mission and our daily lives.
Once again your thoughts of us and your gift mean a great deal to us here, thank you.
Corporal (removed for privacy)
Op ATHENA Roto 2
My name is Corporal (removed for privacy) . I am a clerk with the engineers here on Op Athena in Kabul Afghanistan. Our Chief Clerk handed out these wonderful Pens that you made for us. I wanted to write and thank you.
In my job we are always writing so having an original pen will be wonderful. This is one way I can tell if someone has accidentally taken my pen. Now I can "chase" them down and get it back.
Thanks again for the wonderful gift and heartfelt letter.
Op Athena Roto 2
I'm writing you to thank you for the hand made pen that you made.
I am a Resource Management Support (RMS) Clerk with the National Command Element (NCE) on Operation Athena in Kabul Afghanistan. Approximately a week or so ago, my Commanding Officer received the box of pens you sent. He confered with the Commander of the Task Force and they together decided to hand out the pens to the most junior RMS Clerks within the Task Force. I even had the first pick.
I have been in the Canadian Forces since January 1992 for which I spent 8 1/2 years in the Reserve Force. In September 2000 I transfered to the Regular Force. I have always been an RMS Clk. We RMS Clk process soldier's pay and take care of all administration that is required. It is many times a very hectic job, but someone has to ensure that they are taken care of. Again, I would like to thank you for the pen you made us. As a RMS Clk I will definately get much use out of it and it will benifit more Sodier than you can imagine.
Feel free to write back if you'd like.
(removed for privacy)
Cpl NCE OR Clk
Good Day Mr. Shaver,
I am sending you this quick email to thank you for the thoughtful gift. As I am a clerk this gift will be used on a daily basis by myself until someone borrows it and doesn't give it back, which happens a lot in my trade. I was happy to see and hear that Canadians at home are grateful for the job we do, knowing this makes me proud to be a Canadian. I also appreciated the fact that you recognized the sacrifices our families have made and will continue to make over the coming years.
(removed for privacy)
Camp Svc/B Coy Clk
Op Athena Roto 2
Dear Mr. Shaver
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for the pen I've received on your behalf. I am very proud to be serving on Op Athena Roto 2 as an RMS clerk. When I use this pen I will think of you and your thoughtfullness.
Again thank you.
(removed for privacy)
NSE OR Clk
Op Athena Roto 2
I had the privilege of reading your words on the letter you sent with the pens you made as well as the email you responded back to of one of the recipients of your pens. Your words were so heartfelt, that I was compelled to send this email.
When your pens arrived here, it was felt our Private's and Corporal's Administrative/Finance Clerks should receive these pens. The joy and surprise on their faces when they received them was of great pleasure to me. The softening of their faces and for some the tears that welled in their eyes when they read your letter, gave me a real sense of pride for the job these young soldiers were doing over here.
I wanted to thank you for your thoughts and your appreciation towards these young soldiers. For many, this is their first tour overseas. It has been a very challenging tour for them. As for us veteran's of overseas tours, it is easier as we know what to expect but it's still hard to be away from our families and friends. To know someone out there, besides our families, are so proud of the Canadian soldiers and appreciate what we do, makes us walk taller and prouder ourselves. Once again, thank you so much for the heartfelt gift of the pens and your so very kind words. Your family can be proud of you and what you have done for us. Take care of each other.
All the best.
(removed for privacy)
National Support Element
Orderly Room Supervisor
Operation Athena Rotation 2
G'day Mr. Shaver,
Thank you very much for your pen, everyone here says it's an extremely beautiful well-made item. I will use it on a daily basis certainly, a part of you will be with us.
I'm an Infantry Officer belonging to the Royal 22e Regiment (Vandoo) deployed as the Canadian Task Force Commander (small contingent composed of three guys, two from Ottawa and one from Borden Ontario). I'm a francophone, therefore I present you my apologies if I do mistakes in English.
My primary function is to coordinate and take care of the 141 Military Observers (Milobs) deployed up-country within 11 team sites. These Milobs come from 31 different countries. I mainly solve daily problems they may encounter.
My two other Canadian colleagues have also received a pen, and they should communicate with you soon. The situation here is calm &, stable. The criminality level is not too high. The United Mission called UNAMSIL should end in the next twelve months, so we will see some pulling-out activities of international forces soon. Hope this country will have a normal environment in the future.
So thanks again for the pen. May God Bless and Protect both of you too.
(removed for privacy)
TF Commander Op REPTILE
Sierra Leone, Africa Western Area
|June 15, 2005|
My name is (removed for privacy) , and I recently received one of the pens you made
for peace keepers currently serving away from Canada. I am currently stationed in the Sinai peninsula, Egypt. In support of the Multi Force Observer mission there.
Our mandate is to monitor the border between Israel and Egypt.
If you're interested in learning more about what we do here, check out. Life here isn't too bad, we serve alongside 10 other nations, it can be quite interesting at time.
Egypt and Israel are two places in the world filled with history, and being here with the MFO we get the opportunity to go on local tours to learn a little of the history and culture of these places. It would be a shame to come all this distance, and not see some of the history that is here.
The food is good, and the living conditions rank among the best when compared to my other missions I've done. In Canada, I'm stationed in Nova Scotia and will be retuning there in Oct when my tour is complete.
I'd like to thank you for the pen, it's very nice. Your pens were very much appreciated by everyone here. It's nice to know there are people back home wishing us well.
Thank you for your gift, and more importantly your kind thoughts.
(removed for privacy)
I am writing you to thank you for the beautiful pen, I just got back from leave in Canada, had to go home due to illness in the family, thus the tardy thanks. More importantly than the gift, is the thought of you and your family taking the time to think of us over here, which means the world to all of us. I think 2 things make or break a mission, having the support of your family, and having the support of your neighbours. I must say, as the only sailor over here, it is quite the experience, getting used to wearing the camouflaged stuff is different, but in the end, you make do, get up and get on with it.
Sierra Leone, albeit rich in resources, is extremely poor (poorest in the world)and trying hard to dig themselves out of a hole, they appear to be making headway, despite people and organizations taking advantage of them. But a country exists because of the people, and they really can smile despite horrible circumstances.
On my drive to work in the morning, we pass a row of men maimed in the worse ways. One man in particular has no hands, and no legs. I bid him good morning and asks him how things are going, his response is: "I praise the god for such a beautiful day". He asks for nothing but a chat. When I go home and see some of our young people with all their extremities, cardboard signs in hand, on street medians begging, sometimes I wish they could come here and see what it is like to be really disadvantaged.
Once again sir, thanks very much, your well wishes are greatly appreciated. I am including a picture taken a bit ago of me atop of Leicester peak, nice sometimes to put a face to a letter,
PO1 (removed for privacy)
IMATT Marine Engineering Adviser
Freetown, Sierra Leone
|July 24, 05
Thank you for the pen. Your thoughts and well wishes are very much appreciated.
What you do is truely unique. Although you may think that many other Canadians feel the same way as you, that is not the general impression that we in the service have. Many of us, myself included, believe that the only time the Canadian public gives a damn about us is when there is an emergency/National disaster within Canada, or when a fellow soldier is killed.
It is very refreshing to find a fellow Canadian who appreciates the sacrifices our troops make in the service of our country.
There are two of us here in my particular section that have received a pen from you. Both myself, deployed from Ottawa and Sgt (removed for privacy) , deployed from Comox BC wish to thank you for taking the time to make the pens.
Capt (removed for privacy)
OC NCC Khartoum
Task Force Sudan