Ray Hari

The art of giving and compassion

Ray Hari

July 2020

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Given our current situation, my initial thought was to write something about how our club is coping with the pandemic and what we have been doing. I am not good at giving any words of wisdom about the pandemic. So, there is not much I can say that will shed any new light about the gloom we are all in at the moment. Thanks to Greg Peck, Bob Bley, and Mike Lanahan our club has adjusted to doing online meetings.


I want to talk about a man who for years has created a culture of giving in our club. Though I met him the first day I joined the club, I came to know more about him when I started volunteering at the school in the winter. Initially I did not understand his passion for making pens. But as time went by, I realized the value of what he was doing. I watched him teach the kids how to do spindle turning, how to cut the pen blanks, drill holes in them, glue them to the tubes and turn them to their final shapes. And then apply friction polish and assemble them. You do not understand the value of his teaching until you look at the proud expression and glow on the kids face when they hold the first pen they have created. The kids feel amazed at their own ability to craft those pens and show it to everyone they know. Gordon is the champion who started the pen turning program for the Santa Clara High School. I had no idea how to turn a pen until I met Gordon. In fact, Gordon is my pen Guru. I learnt everything I know about pen making from Gordon. Initially watching him teach the kids and later making my first pen during that winter. Hundreds of kids in the Santa Clara High School have looked up to Gordon not only for making pens but for a slew of other wood working projects as well. He introduced the bandsaw box and LED lamp projects just to name a few. He was crucial in setting up the router table etc. and teaching the kids the fundamentals of wood working. A lot of kids looked up to him. I have noticed that when Brandon, Owen, Emily, and other kids walk into the room and see me, rather than saying Hi, the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “where is Gordon?”. Gordon not only taught the kids how to make pens, he was a crusader for “Pens for the Troops” in our club. He has collected and distributed 100s of pen kits over the years to club members and encouraged everyone to contribute to the ‘Pens for the Troops’ program. There is something about making pens for others without expecting anything in return. And that feeling of satisfaction and happiness is heightened when those pens go to our troops who pledge their lives for the freedom, we enjoy every day.


Another person who has taken the ‘Pen for the Troops’ with passion and driving the efforts for our club is Jerry Galli. He is very passionate about giving to the troops and is now in the driver seat of the pens for the troops program at SVW.


The next person I want to talk about is someone whom I am very fond of. She is always a pleasure to talk to and has a great sense of humor. She has contributed a lot to the club. I always enjoyed going to her house for sawdust sessions. When I see a miniature turning anywhere, I think of Barbara. We all go through some down times and times of sorrow or misfortune in our lives. She always finds the time to send a note on behalf of the club whenever someone needs a little cheering or needs some caring. Barbara has been our hospitality chair over the years. Now she would like to pass the baton to someone else in the club. We are looking for someone to take the baton from her.


I want to take this time to salute Gordon Patnude, Jerry Galli, and Barbara Jones for all they have done and continue to do for our club. They make everyone else’s life a little better through their selfless giving and compassion.



~ Hari ~

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