Pens With a Purpose: The Art of Darren and Michelle Gillett
There’s a loving message embedded in every wooden pen produced by Darren and Michelle Gillett.
What do a husband-and-wife team from Scaly Mountain, walking sticks, and kids from Kenya have in common? Plenty. They all came together via a long, convoluted journey wound around a family motto, DSTM: Do Something That Matters.
The beginnings of Darren and Michelle Gillett’s mission centered around Scouting. For 16 years they supported their son, leading his Scout Troup, watching him grow from Cub to Eagle. Michelle took branches and limbs her son collected and turned them into walking sticks. These became thank-you gifts to those who assisted the Troup. Gillett creations became symbols of walking down a meaningful path.
Darren’s parents played a big role in the Gillett’s stick evolution. His dad, a pastor, inspired the family to take a very long walk … to Kenya and visit an orphanage, House of Hope. Michelle says, “We instantly fell in love with the children. In the course of a few years we are now sponsoring seven orphans. We are also involved with SERV, an organization that helps feed those kids along with hundreds of thousands more around the world.”
The Gilletts ramped up their participation in 2017 when they started Pens with a Purpose, a mom-and-pop business that turns tree limbs and various exotic wood on a lathe into pencils, ball-points, fountain pens, and more. A scrap of wood becomes a finely-honed writing utensil.
“In January this will be four years we have partnered with SERV International. Every pen provides 25 meals. That’s 141,850 meals our good turns have produced,” Michelle says.
One of their most sought-after pens at Christmastime is made of olive wood from Bethlehem. That wood is in short supply as you might imagine, but what a marvelous heirloom gift for a relative or friend.
Go online (penswithapurpose.com) to see the delightful variety of designs: gearshifts, bolt action (looks like a 30-caliber bullet), fly-fisher, baseball, football, wine-bottle stoppers, corkscrews, and so much more. If you want to help those in crisis somewhere in the world your purchase can make that happen. If ordering in-stock materials turn-around is two days. Special commissions, seven days.
The most rewarding aspect of purchasing a special pen is the ripple-effect around the world. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
So, this holiday season, join the Gilletts and Do Something That Matters. [email protected].