Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Grati - Tuesdays

Good evening and thank you for inviting me to come and talk to you tonight........oops no, that was last night's opening.  LOL

Last night the Kuringai Rotary Club invited me to come and be there guest speaker for the evening.  The evening started with a delicious dinner - the biggest lamb shank I have ever seen and so tender and flavoursome!  YUMMO.  My compliments to the chef that's for sure.  Thank you to everyone who wished me good luck.  Thankfully I don't get nervous when addressing a room of people but I worry about silly things, like my computer not working and therefore no PowerPoint  or dropping my notes and losing a page.  It is essential that I stick to a script or I will talk for way too long!  

Last night all went smoothly and as you can imagine it is a really good story to tell.  I just never know who I will be talking to when addressing a group like this and it is always interesting to find out who is there.  Right smack dab in the front of the assembled audience was a veteran with 30 years service in the SAS.  As you can imagine his service spanned Borneo and Vietnam so what I was talking about resonated deeply with him.  As he has a military background he had been given the job of thanking me at the end of my presentation and suffice to say the story of Aussie Heroes was one he was very pleased to hear.  I felt privileged to have met him and to have his endorsement of what we do.

Rita C was there as it was her husband's Rotary Group and their suggestion that I be invited to speak.  Rita seeks sponsorship from friends and local businesses for the quilts that she makes for Aussie Heroes.  Anyone who sponsors a quilt is asked to write a letter and to sign a patch on the back.  Rita explained the the process to the club members last night and several of them have offered to sponsor a quilt for her. There were other offers of help too, but it is too soon to go into them.  Suffice to say it was a very successful and pleasant evening.

Time for a few thank you messages?  I think so. .....

Joan & Robin,

Thankyou so much for the beautiful laundry bag! It is beautifully made and it certainly brightened up my day when I received it. :)

Kind regards,


Hi Keryn

I would like to thank you for your time in writing me your letter and also sewing the binding into my quilt. I received it two days ago and I love it, it made my day. It's just what I asked for. I only have five weeks left of my deployment so I will put it to good use until I leave and then I plan to use it on my spare bed at home.

It's lovely to hear how you came about sewing for Aussie Hero Quilts (which is an awesome idea) and also to hear about your family.


Dear Sandra,
Thank you very much for the hand sewn quilt. I plan on giving it to my 6 year-old daughter when I return home to Australia, I know she will love it. I see all my fellow troops here in Afghanistan receiving laundry bags and quilts from Aussie Heros each week, and it really makes their day that much better. These tokens help us out a lot, it reminds us that people that aren't our family, but complete strangers, are proud of and support our contribution here to the war on terror

G'day Joan, my name is XXXXX. I would just like to inform you that I received the laundry bag that you made for me, today. Thank you very much for all of your efforts in making this and I have just placed my first load of laundry into it. The weather over here is becoming more pleasant each day, as we come to the end of summer. I hope it is not too cold in Sydney for you. 



I recently received an email from Jan Maree informing me that you had not received my response to my receiving of your quilt (I wrote around the end of June . As is often the case up here, emails and internet are intermittent at best (my partner receives emails, one two five six eight) Its somewhat of an annoyance any day of the week, however I'm certain its better compared to ten years ago when the only communication in and out of here was snail mail haha.

I have received your quilt and I'm quite appreciative of it.  I've loved trains since.. Well since I can remember and upon leaving the navy have full intend becoming a trainee train driver.  Its also a relief from the heat up here as I use it rather than my doona in my rack, beats the too hot, too cold scenario as its just right.  What you do, however simply or complex, I cant quilt so I'll go with complex, put a smile on my face the second I opened the box and I can confirm that the other boys in the mess receiving quilts were just as excited. Receiving any sort of liaison from home is an exciting break in the monotony of this situation I have found myself in.

Thank you very much and know that your work does not go unappreciated.

(You Just have to see the quilt he is talking about.)


Hi Rita. 

Just a quick email to express all of my thank yous for all of the hard work that you've put into my quilt! I received it just a day ago in XXXXX during our 10 day visit/maintenance period and I can tell you that it brightened my day! I bet you're finding a little cooler in the valley than we are at the moment, its been getting up around the 50 degree mark on a regular basis but we're well over half way now so everyone's starting to look toward getting home in the coming months. 
Anyway enough about me, and back to work! thank you again for doing this for me, it will be a great memento of my time spent here.

take care and cheers! .....

This one relates to an awesome quilt that Keryn made with camels on it!  TOOO COOL

Good morning Jan,

I have been on my leave these past two weeks, sorry about the late reply. I got XXXXX's quilt the day before I left so didn't have time to email you her reaction!

We all sat around while she opened as we knew it was gonna be a good one! We are all very jealous of her camel quilt it was so good! Haha she loves it!  

I have just come back to work today and got XXXXX's quilt. (Made by Liz B)   He has actually returned to Australia now so I will be forwarding it onto him to his home address. I'm sure he is going to be over the moon with it :)

Thank you for everything Jan, it really does mean the world to us :)

Big hello to everyone back home :)

G'day Liz, Errol and family,

I would just like to thank you for the laundry bag I received from you in the mail the other day. It was a welcome parcel to receive from Australia. The colder weather back home sounds like a welcome relief to what we have here at the moment.  Once again thank you for the parcel, these parcels are always welcomed by all of us over this way, especially the younger members or those on their first trip.

Take care,

Hi Angela, 

Thank you so much for the time invested in making this great looking quilt. I received it yesterday and was totally amazed at the detail and effort you have made and I really appreciate your thoughts and letter also. My mother will be so proud when she see's it as she lost a close friend some time ago who was a passionate and talented quilter. Initially when I saw it I was reminded of that. I found your letter very interesting and I am sure with all the work you do you must be kept very busy. Well I have six weeks left here in the middle east with the crazy temperatures and I am looking forward to returning to Australia for a well earned break and catch up with family and friends. I am also hoping to get some coverage of the AFL finals over here but unfortunately Brisbane lions weren't good enough this year to make it. Just for your information the quilt is long enough and fits well for a giant like me haha. Anyway I must get back to it so thanks again and take care.


Judy C2 

Good morning Ma'am, 

I am pleased to let you know that I have received  my quilt in the mail yesterday. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to make a quilt for me, it really is a nice gift that will be used everyday for the rest of my deployment and also when I get home to Australia as I have a 3 month old baby boy who would love to have tummy time and play on it. 

You guys are doing such a great job and it really does make our day when we get care packages from family, friends and volunteer groups such as Aussie Hero Quilts. 


Dear Shirley,

Thank you very much for the hand sewn laundry bag.  I see all my fellow troops here in Afghanistan receiving laundry bags and quilts from Aussie Heros each week, and it really makes their day that much better. These tokens help us out a lot, it reminds us that people that aren't our family, but complete strangers are proud of and support our contribution here to the war on terror.

Hello Jan-Maree,

I have received the Aussie Hero Quilt you arranged for me and it is absolutely beautiful, I am very happy with it.  Now I don't have to worry about being cold when the stokers decide to turn up the air-conditioning in the mess. Thank you so very much for all the effort you have put into making it.

My ship mates and I are very appreciative for all the hard work you and your volunteer's have put into making our trip a lot more comfortable. You have given us something to look forward to and have definitely boosted the moral on the ship.

Once again thank you so very much for all of your efforts, 

Dear Jenny B

Thank you so much for the quilt. Can you please pass on my appreciation to Angus for giving up his tigers panel. I really do appreciate the effort that you and Angus have given to make the quilt. I will send some photos of the quilt in action on my rack :)

Thanks also for the selection of treats, they were very much appreciated by my peers and me and consumed in no time at all :)

I know the guys and I appreciate what your group does in making quilts for service men and women. It is great when we receive mail and sit in the recreational area and all share our new packages. It really puts a smile on everyone's faces. 


Hi Jan-Maree,

How are you? I have received my quilt. Thank you very much, it is really appreciated by everyone on the ship, the great work you guys are doing.
The quilt looks really good and something I will remember for a long time, thank you again.



Hi Jan-Maree,

How are you? I have received my quilt. Thank you very much, it is really appreciated by everyone on the ship, the great work you guys are doing.
The quilt looks really good and something I will remember for a long time, thank you again


This is a rather special message and I did seek permission to publish it in its entirety.

Dear Sandra

I would like to thank you for the kind gift I received in the mail yesterday. Prior to our deployments we are told that the Australian public are generous in their thoughts and their gifting to deployed Australians servicemen and women. Once again I am staggered by the generosity displayed by your organisation and you in particular. A little about this place and the Australians deployed here. In the Middle East Area of Operations there are many Australians from all three services. Some are here to continue operations in support of the Afghan authorities and others are mainly concerned with the closing down and handing over of Tarin Kot and the redeployment of Australians back to Australia later this year. 

Our deployment of Combined Team Uruzgan departed Australia on Wednesday 7 May 13 from Darwin on an A340 jet. The plane is a charted aircraft used by the Australian Defence Force to fly people to and from the Middle East. We landed at Dubai and stayed there for a few days prior to the short hop into Afghanistan. The weather in Dubai was hot – about 45 degrees by day and about 25 by night. Naturally it is dry, sandy and quite dusty. Afghanistan is another story. It is hot, dry, very sandy and exceptionally dusty. The flight path takes you from Dubai, over the Persian Gulf and into Pakistan. The difference between the Persian Gulf with its blue sea and the dusty brown of Pakistan is striking. A further hour or so over Pakistan and then into Afghanistan for about 30 minutes until you fly into the Tarin Kot Bowl. The RAAF plane flies over the mountains surrounding the town and our military base and has to descend very rapidly to land.

The encampment is an assortment of buildings that have been here since this place was established, firstly by the Russians, then the United States, the Dutch and finally us. There have been many other nations in Tarin Kot over the years and they have also added their bits and pieces. The accommodation is spartan but quite good. Showers are short being 2 minutes in length due to water availability and the ability of the sewerage system to handle it. The food is great with large quantities and variety, including fresh fruit and vegetables. Although this will change as we get closer to leaving and handing this place to the Afghans.

I didn’t order the quilt and laundry bag, this was done by another person on my behalf because he decided that I needed a quilt and as I am a male – I am incapable of ordering it or just too lazy. However, I am impressed and very grateful for the gift. I have seen quite a number of these items here and they are treasured by those that use them.

Once again, thank you for the gift and your continued support.
(actually this gent is far too humble. He later confessed to me that he did not request a quilt as he was brought up not to ask for anything.  He explained this to a colleague who is now back here and the colleague's response was "Watch this Space".  I am grateful that yet again he was looked after by his mate.)

Till next time...............keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx

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