Tobyhanna Army Depot Highlights Hobbies of Employees During National Hobby Month

January is National Hobby Month – an opportunity to celebrate the unique ways The Tobyhanna Army Depot finds joy and fulfillment in their personal lives.

Gabrielle Dutz from the Resource Management Directorate likely has one of the most creative cubicles on the installation. Posted all over is just a portion of her postcard collection, which is a hobby she has enjoyed for a number of years.

Dutz said that even as a child, she was into collecting. Once upon a time she had a playing card and a magnet collection. Nowadays she primarily collects postcards but has a t-shirt collection from places she’s visited as well. She said that she gravitated towards postcards due to their low price point and that they serve as reminder of previous trips and events to come.

Dutz has always considered herself a creative individual. While in college, she decorated her dorm with photo collages, to include postcards. This served as somewhat of an inspiration to decorate her workspace at TYAD the same way. She said that having her postcards on display at work serves as a good way to enjoy her hobby even while supporting the warfighter.

“I’ve always collected little things along the way and I really love souvenirs. I just had all of these post cards hanging around in boxes so I thought why not bring them to work,” said Dutz. “They are a nice reminder of life outside and things to look forward to like a trip or an event. It is just cheap little trinket to remember things.”

Dutz said that although she loves collecting postcards, she likes to acquire them naturally and isn’t often browsing resale sites for them. As someone who enjoys traveling, she said a lot of her collection comes from places she has visited, citing their easy accessibility as one of the main drivers for grabbing them in gift shops wherever she is visiting at that time. She said it is usually the uniqueness of the card design that helps her chooses which to bring home.

Dutz added that, as a music fan, one particularly special postcard she owns is themed after the rock band “Grateful Dead.” She said this vintage postcard is special as it was a gift from her mom and isn’t easy to come by.

“We keep it in the vault and only bring it out on special occasions,” joked Dutz.

Dutz said that at the end of the day, looking at her postcard collection enriches her life and gets her excited for the next fun event she is attending.

“You always need that next trip or that concert or that next thing on your calendar to look forward to and my collection helps me do that,” said Dutz. “It is kind like the thrill of the hunt. You’re somewhere, you’re out, you see stuff and you want to grab it. When you go on a trip you hope to take a souvenir home but you want find that right thing. Having the collection makes it more purposeful spending. You’re not just buying things to buy things. It marries that practical side with also looking for a cool visual or creative thing. That really drives me.”

According to Ryan Beilman, life is better behind the wheel of a Volkswagen (VW). A lifelong fan of “things with wheels,” Beilman is particularly enthusiastic about VWs and has owned more than 45 different VW vehicles in the past 20 years. A white 1978 VW Rabbit was the springboard for Beilman’s obsession, which focuses on vehicles manufactured prior to the year 2000. He says these “pre2K” vehicles (as they are colloquially called in the VW community) are just more fun.

“I like having a car I can work on – one that has the traditional ‘vehicle’ smells and sounds.”

A dearth of quality VW-related events led Beilman to take on the role of community organizer in 2010. Since then, he’s spearheaded dozens of meetups and car cruises with other VW enthusiasts from across the Northeast, eventually leading him to partner with others to launch a yearly weekend-long VW event in Wildwood, N.J. Beilman takes pride that the event facilitates a positive environment for VW collectors of all ages.

“Our event, focused on “pre2K” VWs, is not just about looking at cool cars. We strive to create an authentic space where people in the community can enjoy vendors, learning from others, and meetups – in a wholesome way. As a parent myself, I really appreciate the opportunity to share what I love with my wife and daughters, and I am proud to have a hand in letting others do the same,” he explained.

When he’s not meeting in person with other VW enthusiasts, he co-hosts a podcast focused on “pre2K” VWs. Over the course of 100-plus episodes, the podcast has featured others active in the VW community, technical experts and even a representative from VW Group of America. Despite having owned a lifetime’s worth of VWs, Beilman notes that there’s still a “white whale” that eludes him: the extremely rare and valuable 23-window VW bus, a vehicle he hopes to obtain and restore sometime in the future.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Master Scheduler Steve Gardner’s mother said he’s had a love for drumming since childhood. Gardner’s first drumming experience came on a familiar, but unorthodox, drum set – pots and pans. Gardner was keen to turn anything he could into a drum set.

“I’ve always had an affinity for the drums, and I remember listening to 8-tracks as a kid and using tent poles to pretend I was playing drums on my pillows on my bed,” said Gardner.

Although drumming seems to have been in his DNA, Gardner said he discovered his ability for drumming in the early 90s while over his friend Roger’s house.

Roger was a guitarist and he and his family were big country music fans. Roger pulled a drum set from the attic and started playing “Sweet Home Alabama” on his guitar while Gardner started playing a drumbeat.

It came naturally to Gardner, who said, “I didn’t really know I could play the drums, but it just kind of happened.”

When presented with a choice between a computer and a drum set, Gardner’s choice was obvious.

Around 30 years removed from that impromptu jam session, Gardner has been drumming ever since. He has showcased his talents in several bands ranging from country to metal to mainstream rock. Gardner highlighted two bands, Whiskey Tango and Soul Satellite, as particularly successful endeavors. His drumming has seen him play several venues, including Tobyhanna Army Depot once during a Pittsburgh Steelers pep rally held during break time.

The diversity of projects Gardner has participated in speaks to his eclectic taste and genuine appreciation for music.

“I’ve always loved music and playing the drums is very therapeutic. When you’re playing, it turns the volume down on everything else. I love playing, being creative, coming up with something new and just having a good time.”

Much like any band couldn’t work without a drummer keeping the beat, Team Tobyhanna can only reach its full potential when following an efficient battle rhythm.

Gardner said his hobbies make him a better member of Team Tobyhanna. Gardner is passionate about the work he does at Tobyhanna Army Depot and is proud of the impact Team Tobyhanna has on our nation’s warfighters. He said his hobbies allow him to be creative and curious in his downtime, and channel that into a heightened focus during working hours.

“Having any kind of hobby helps you with your work because that’s your downtime, that’s your therapy. If you have a frustrating, exciting or stressful day, it helps balance out the day.”

When he’s not on the stage or behind a drum set, you can find Gardner spending time with his wife and two kids, playing golf and riding his motorcycle.