In the United States, a wooden nickel is a wood token coin, usually issued by a merchant or bank as a promotion, sometimes redeemable for a specific item. Wooden nickels were most commonly issued in the U.S. in the 1930's, after the start of the Great Depression. A more popular American adage, "Don't take any wooden nickels" is considered a lighthearted reminder to be cautious in one's dealings and is in fact directly related in meaning to our story here. It begins with the 555th Combat Engineer Brigade stationed out of Fort Lewis Washington, presently known as Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Serviced by approximately 40,000 Soldiers and Airmen, it is the third largest post by population currently serving in Afghanistan. Being one of five active duty tactical Engineer Brigades in the U.S. Army, the 555th outfit is known as "The Triple Nickel". Additional information can be found on the 555 Engineer Brigade Facebook page. Please "Like" their page if you so desire in support of their efforts. Information on their mission in Afghanistan can also be found on the Joint Task Force Triple Nickel Facebook page. According to James Mitchell, J3 SGM, JTF of The Triple Nickel, "The Wooden Nickel award is pretty much a dunce hat. The old saying "Don't take any wooden nickels" is directly related. We gather the Senior Leaders in the HQ and nominate Leaders who have made a silly decision, a public mistake or embarrassment. It's really fun and helps build camaraderie among Senior folks. We all take a vote and decide who gets awarded the Wooden Nickel. That person must proudly display the Wooden Nickel for the entire month until the next nominee is awarded it." SGM Mitchell is set to leave his post for home soon, and as he sets to depart, he wants to leave a legacy of friendship in love and support to his outfit. Being a jokester, Mitchell loves to laugh and will be leaving a true "wooden nickel" behind to continue the humor within his group. [blockquote]Mitchel said, "The wooden nickel design and craftsmanship is also a little piece of me. You see, I grew up as a carpenter in the Army now with 25 years under my belt. I am one of those exacting standards type of guys so there are so many "tie-ins" between your Woodcraft products and me as a man and as a Soldier."[/blockquote] SGM Mitchel called Woodcraft's Karen Bennett from our customer support department to inquire if he could send his wooden nickel artwork to Woodcraft and have it handcrafted. Karen promptly organized a team effort and involved tech support's Bob Poling who gathered a 24" x 30" piece of plywood and took it home to cut a 23" diameter wooden nickel. Rob Patterson, warehouse IT Specialist, reworked SGM Mitchell's artwork into a form and file that would work with Woodcraft's laser engraving machine, encapsulating about 8 hours in that effort. Bob Neff from our returns department, shipped it out USPS. According to Karen, "USPS tracking fell off the radar on February 23rd with no trace of the package to Afghanistan, but ended up arriving safely on March 2nd, ironically the same date that SGM Mitchell planned on handing out the wooden nickel award." Karen finished the wooden nickel on her own time using General Finishes 450 semi-gloss from Woodcraft. Karen also sent along turned wooden pens to the 124 troops in SGM Mitchell's outfit from Woodcraft's Turning for Troops events, turned by our many talented volunteering customer base. The first honorary wooden nickel goes to CPT Pride of the 555th, pictured below. SGM Mitchell stated, "You see this fine officer sent out a hyperlink that was designed to allow Soldiers to participate in a free coffee program, but instead sent a hyperlink that is of course blocked because he included a typo that had us directed to a pornographic site. We all laughed our butts off at the gathering on the 2nd. The error was in fact, "Cup of joe.com vs cup of hoe.com...hilarious....its all about proofreading. The story itself only needs to be 55.5% true being that we are the 555th EN BDE...its our tradition!" Thanks to all involved at Woodcraft for making this happen, and a huge thank you and salute goes out to all the service men and women serving abroad and at home so that we may continue to do what we do, safely, everyday in the comfort of our homes, shops and businesses. auf Wiedersehen...Frank!